Menlo News December 18, 2022

Fall season in review 2022-23

Sport-by-sport breakdown in cross country, football, girls’ golf, girls’ tennis, volleyball, boys’ and girls’ water polo



The Menlo cross country teams brought home top-10 state finishes, including the boys in second place - its highest finish in program history. The girls came in 10th with a team made up entirely of underclassmen, and for all the girls, their first state meet. The Menlo girls last went to the CIF Championships as a team in 2019 when they took second. CCS champion Justin Pretre cruised to victory with a time of 14:58.1 on the 2.95-mile course, then he soared to second place and sophomore Landon Pretre was fourth at state.



It was a season of firsts for football, which landed the school’s first Central Coast Section championship and fifth section title in program history. The Knights had done the unthinkable this postseason beating Live Oak in the CCS Div. III semifinals, then Hollister in a rout for the CCS crown. Menlo nearly toppled San Marin, the defending Div. 5AA state champions, in the last minutes of the CIF NorCal Div. 4A final - its first regional appearance in program history.



The girls’ golf team closed the season with an impressive 10-4 West Bay Athletic League record and took third at the league championships, just two strokes off the cut for CCS as a team. Two players qualified for the CCS Championships, placing 10th and 30th among 115 players.



Much like the CCS quarterfinal when Menlo defeated Los Altos 4-3, the semifinal against Cupertino was a nail-biter and played every bit like a section final match.

“It was beyond epic,” Bill Shine, who has seen his share of CCS matches in his 25 years, “We were underdogs. They showed tremendous grit and belief that they could pull it off, and we came within a point of winning.” The Knights finished the season with a 21-6 record, a league title - their 35th in program history, a league singles championship and CCS singles and doubles qualifiers.



The young Menlo team went 3-1 at its own 13-team Chris Chandler Invitational to take silver in the 16-team tournament, and took eighth in the 32-team Spikefest. The Knights enjoyed early-season success before wrapping up a 6-4 record for second in the West Bay Athletic League. The Knights advanced to the CCS Div. IV playoffs where they fell to Half Moon Bay.



The Knights boys’ water polo team took third in the West Catholic Athletic League Tournament, wrapping up the final round with a victory at St. Francis.


Menlo, which has qualified for the Central Coast Section Open Division every season since the division debuted in water polo five years ago, suffered its first CCS opening-round loss after a double-overtime loss to Valley Christian. Menlo (18-9)


Jack Bowen reaches 500th win

Knights boys’ water polo head coach Jack Bowen landed his 500th victory after Menlo defeated Skyline of Utah. Bowen, in his 23rd season, holds a 500-154 record during which time the Knights won 17 league championships and five Central Coast Section titles.

“At first after the game, there was an overwhelming feeling, I think because of what this all represents, then there was this gratitude that I got to celebrate with this group of kids,” Bowen said.

From Day One, Bowen has encouraged his players and students to “Be their Best.” He says it all stems from Aristotle and the idea of human flourishing or eudaimonia or the highest good that humans can strive for. Incidentally, the Knights won the first CCS title in program history in 2000. Bowen has never stressed the wins and losses or the titles. At the post-game on the pool deck that night, surrounded by his players, coaches, family and friends, he toasted years of culture and us all striving to be our best.



The Knights girls’ water polo team earned a berth to the top-tier CCS Open Division playoffs. Menlo wrapped up the season with an 18-9 overall record and 4-2 for third place in the tough West Catholic Athletic League. Menlo jump-started its season, going 13-4 to start the season and advanced to the final of its own Amanda MacDonald Invitational.