Although they’ve won CCS titles, the Monta Vista girls had yet to break the hegemony of Paly-Gunn dominance of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League-De Anza Division swimming and diving championship meet. Until this year.
It was a tense and exciting day of swimming at Gunn High School. The hosts, who had broken Palo Alto High School’s ten-year streak by winning the 2013 championship, were looking for a repeat. Paly wanted their crown back. And Monta Vista was geared up to knock them both off the pedestal.
1. Monta Vista 414
2. Palo Alto 398.50
3. Gunn 394
4. Los Gatos 294
5. Saratoga 204
6. Homestead 165.50
7. Los Altos 131
Gunn was first out of the gates with a win in the 200 medley relay as Kiley Lin, Caroline Anderson, Jennifer Campbell, and Nia Gardner combined for a 1:48.73, just shy of the SCVAL-DAD record and only .21 in front of Los Gatos. Paly finished third, a half-second ahead of Monta Vista.
Gunn junior Jennifer Campbell won the girls’ 200 free in 1:47.37 but Monta Vista’s Kaunitz sisters (sophomore Lisa and UCLA-bound senior Sarah) scored important points for the Matadors with their 2-3 finish.
Monta Vista senior Carly Reid, headed to UCLA in the fall, won the 200 IM handily. Her 2:07.11 put her more than three seconds in front of freshman Hana Brett of Los Altos and Gunn senior Fiona Hon.
Gunn came roaring back in the 50 free, placing four in the “A” final. It was Paly freshman Grace Zhao who got the win, though, in 23.56. Second place went to Gunn senior Gabrielle Bethke; Homestead freshman Caitlyn Koo was third.
Mimi Lin won the diving for Paly. Monta Vista’s Qianyi Pang and Gunn’s Vivian Zhou were second and third.
Alex Grimes, a junior from Los Gatos, won the girls’ 100 fly with a SCVAL-DAD record time of 55.01. That eclipsed the old mark of 55.05 set by Jasmine Tosky in 2012. Paly senior Jayna Wittenbrink, one of three Vikings in the top eight, was second while junior Sarah Jin of Los Gatos took third.
In the 100 free, Gunn’s Bethke just edged out Monta Vista’s Reid, 51.42 to 51.49. Homestead’s Koo was third.
Campbell of Gunn picked up her second win, and second school record, with a 4:49.73 in the 500 free. Lisa Kaunitz (4:51.11) took home another second. The pair were the only with sub-5:00 times. Guiliana McLean of Los Gatos took third.
Monta Vista’s Kaunitz sisters, Sayeh Faridnia, and Reid won the 200 free relay in 1:35.90, just .30 away from their SCVAL-DAD record-breaking performance of 2013. They were well over two seconds ahead of second-place Gunn, and over four seconds in front of third-place Homestead.
SCVAL-DAD record-holder Grimes of Los Gatos won the 100 back with a comfortable margin. Although she didn’t lower her own 2013 record in the event, her 56.88 put her two seconds in front of Monta Vista sophomore Nanette Wu, and almost thread ahead of teammate Jin.
Paly’s Zhao scored a double with her 1:03.98 victory in the 100 breast. Saratoga freshman Stefanie Ting touched out Sarah Kaunitz of Monta Vista 1:04.63 to 1:04.69 for second place. The two split the second 50 exactly the same, so it was Ting’s .06 advantage in the first 50 that made the difference.
Leading into the 400 free relay the scores were very close and it was clear that the last event would determine the final standings. Once again the Monta Vista quartet of Sarah Kaunitz (51.20), Faridnia (55.23), Lisa Kaunitz (50.66), and Reid (51.50) got to the wall first, this time breaking their own SCVAL-DAD record by almost a full second with 3:28.59. Gunn finished second, 1.2 back, and Paly was a distant third. Paly ended up beating Gunn by 4 points in the standings, though, to finish second overall.
The Paly boys dominated the meet from start to finish, earning their ninth league championship in the last ten years. Monta Vista had the depth to beat Homestead and meet hosts Gunn, who together with Saratoga all battled for third.
1. Palo Alto 464
2. Monta Vista 330
3. Homestead 272
4. Gunn 253
5. Saratoga 248
6. Los Gatos 209
7. Los Altos 136
Paly got things rolling with a meet record in the 200 medley relay. Andrew Cho, Scott Powell, Alex Liang, and Winston Wang combined for 1:35.48, .21 under the mark Paly had set in 2012, and .54 ahead of second-place Monta Vista’s Colin Hong, Keven Shang, Jarod Olay, and Michael Chen. Los Gatos finished third, just .59 behind Monta Vista and .48 ahead of Gunn.
Monta Vista sophomore Lucca Martins took the boys’ 200 free in 1:41.31 but Paly scored with second- and third-place finishers Alex Liang, a freshman (1:42.00), and sophomore Cho (1:43.35).
Paly racked up more points in the 200 IM when senior William Lee won in 1:52.84 and junior Winston Wang took second. Gunn sophomore Trent Tosky came in third.
Paly and Gunn each had three in the “A” final of the 50 free but Paly got the better end of that deal with a first, fourth and fifth. It was Paly senior and Stanford commit Andrew Liang, with the win. He did it in record-breaking fashion, too, leaving a new SCVAL-DAD mark of 20.33 in his wake. The previous record of 20.55 had stood for 41 years; it was set by Joe Bottom in 1973. Monta Vista senior Chen took second; Gunn sophomore Joao Ama was third.
Paly divers Ried Merritt (461.90) and Scott Hillen led the way with a combined 37 points. They were followed by Saratoga’s Lukas Andreasen.
Paly senior Liang broke the league 100 fly record for the second year in a row; last year his 47.88 had erased a mark of 49.10 held by Mark Spitz since 1967; this year Liang went 47.74. Behind him were Gunn sophomore Daichi Matsuda and Albert Gwo of Los Altos.
Los Altos’s Albert Gwo came back to win the 100 free in 46.66 ahead of Monta Vista senior Brandon Pon and Gunn sophomore Ama. This time Joe Bottom’s 1967 record of 45.00 remained untouched.
Gunn sophmore Daichi Matsuda earned a hard-fought victory in the 500, holding off a late charge from Paly’s younger Liang brother to win 4:32.60 to 4:32.96. Alex Liang came home with a final 100 of 51.83 but it wasn’t enough to catch Matsuda, who had built a comfortable lead through the 400. Monta Vista’s Martins finished third.
The Paly 200 free relay lowered the meet record to 1:25.91, having set it last year with 1:26.21. This time it was Ryan Drover, Cho, Lee, and Andrew Liang who came home in 20.13.
Senior William Lee of Paly turned around and won the 100 back with a new SCVAL-DAD record of 50.22. He lowered his own mark, set last year, of 50.36. His teammate Cho took second, while Homestead sophomore Houfu Yan finished third.
Los Gatos senior Jonathan Panchak took down Byron Sanborn’s 2012 record in the 100 breast by nearly a second, establishing a new mark of 55.97. Paly senior Scott Powell finished second, while Gunn junior Luke Chui took third.
The Paly 400 free relay team of Lee, Wang, and the Liang brothers won by a large margin over Gunn and Los Gatos. The Paly quartet touched in 3:07.50, missing by 1.7 seconds the record set by Santa Clara in 1971.
The California Interscholastic Federation’s Central Coast Championship meet will take place Friday, May 16 and Saturday, May 17 at Santa Clara Swim Center .