Menlo, SHP getting new league address - 2007

Menlo School and Sacred Heart Prep resisted being forced into the West Bay Athletic League, but appeals by both schools against realignment into the WBAL were denied last week by the Central Coast Section board of managers, finalizing the creation of a new boys league and a new look for others on the Peninsula.

For years, both schools sought to become members of the Peninsula Athletic League. Menlo was successful, but the PAL was wary of allowing private schools into an otherwise public-school league. That movement spurred the realignment process and prevented SHP from admittance.

"Both our school and Menlo made oral presentations to depict why the PAL was a better fit for us, but we were denied," SHP Athletic Director Frank Rodriguez said.

Instead, in 2008-09 the WBAL will field a boys league for the first time with essentially the same lineup as the current Private Schools Athletic League. The PSAL's three East Bay schools - Fremont Christian, Redwood Christian, and Valley Christian-Dublin - will join the North Coast Section, while Hillsborough's Crystal Springs-Uplands moves from the NCS.

In addition, Sacred Heart Prep will drop out of the West Catholic Athletic League for girls sports in order to join the WBAL, which will have 13 schools for girls and eight for boys.

The Christian-Private Schools Athletic League will cease to exist, with those schools moving to the PSAL. The exception is Eastside Prep, which moves to the WBAL.

"We were happy in the PAL," Menlo Athletic Director Craig Schoof said. "It fit all our needs. But as long as we have a place for all our teams, we're fine with it. We're not really looking at it as that big of a deal."

There will be no WBAL football, so Menlo will continue to play in the PAL, while SHP and The King's Academy should continue in the NCS's Bay League. Also, Menlo and SHP aquatics programs will have to petition to be included in other leagues.

The benefits of the WBAL is the renewal a league rivalry between Atherton neighbors Menlo and SHP, as well as a fiercely competitive girls basketball league for Pinewood and Eastside Prep, which dominated the PSAL and CPSAL, respectively.

"It's going to be a good league," Rodriguez said. "And with Menlo School there, that really helps legitimize it."

The only other CCS realignment was the merging of the Mission Trail Athletic League and Coastal Athletic League, an organization of small private schools. Schools from both, as well as the new Marina High, will fall under the umbrella of the MTAL, which will field two divisions in most sports.

Track and field Mt. Pleasant is back at full strength, meaning the Cardinals have to be looked at as a contender for the state girls title.

Two-time state sprint champion Jeneba Tarmoh, who missed a month of the early season with a back injury, ran well in the Blossom Valley Athletic League Mount Hamilton Division trials Tuesday on her home track.

She will compete in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 relay at today's division finals. Mt. Pleasant is shooting for its ninth consecutive league championship.

Mt. Pleasant's Vashti Thomas is the national leader in the 100 hurdles and is the defending CCS champ in the long jump. Stella Dugall is the defending state champ in the triple jump. In addition, the 400 relay team has posted the No.6 time in the country.

"We're a contender right now, but Long Beach Poly is the favorite," Coach Steve Nelson said. "The last thing I want the girls thinking about is that."