Freshman on path to success


Mercury News

In a cross-country season featuring outstanding freshman girls around the state, the Central Coast Section has one of its own, Katy Daly of St. Ignatius.

Daly is undefeated after winning the Earlybird, Lowell and Stanford invitationals. Her Division III-winning time of 18 minutes, 17 seconds for 3.1 miles was the fifth-fastest overall among competitors in six races at a Stanford meet that acted as a state preview.

Daly, however, may never have competed in the sport if not for a serious injury she suffered a little more than a year ago.

While playing goalkeeper -- she was an excellent soccer player and basketball point guard -- Daly took a knee to the eye that broke her orbital bone and damaged her vision.

After several operations, Daly was unable to compete in contact sports. But her basketball coach, Kevin Grady, encouraged Daly to take up running to satisfy her competitive nature.

The first time she ran the mile, for her Sunset District grammar school, Daly finished in 5:28. A few months later, she was 10th in the 1,500 meters at the Junior Olympic nationals, finishing in 4:43.

Daly likes to run from the front: ``I just look to follow the person on the bike. I don't know where to go and I don't want to get lost.''

• After a 41-40 victory over No. 5 Gilroy, San Lorenzo Valley (2-1) could have the makings of a football power once again.

But Coach Doug Morris said the Cougars have had to build a winning tradition all over again, despite capturing three CCS titles from 1999 to 2002.

``These kids aren't riding on anybody's shoulders,'' said Morris, whose teams went 10-11 the previous two years. ``Last year's seniors had never played in a CCS playoff game. . . . We had a group of kids that never lost. Now, we have a group of kids that haven't been there.''

• Gilroy's chance at victory ended with an illegal-procedure penalty on what would have been a two-point conversion try with no time left.

Gilroy had made a change at receiver, but both players stepped onto the field, and the Mustangs were penalized for breaking the huddle with 12 players. With the ball moved back from the 3- to the 8-yard line, Gilroy tried a conversion kick for the tie, but the kick went wide.

• There might not be a bigger turnaround in any CCS sport than that of the Half Moon Bay girls water polo team. Since the program began in 2003, the Cougars had lost all 26 games. This year, they're 4-2.

Rich Bassi, who coached at Monta Vista, has taken over both the girls and boys programs and instilled defensive tenacity and a new attitude, and it helps to have players such as Emily Larimer, who has two winning goals.

• Valley Christian midfielder Jeff Coggan made an oral commitment to play soccer at Santa Clara.

• Ray McDonald, a longtime Peninsula coach, will take over the baseball program at Mountain View.