Viking Magazine Volume XVII Issue 1

Page 1

Viking Volume XVII, Issue 1 October 2023

Pickleball Prosperity

pg 16

Private School Prowess

pg 22

Breaking the Mold

pg 42


Volume XVII, Issue 1 October 2023



The Gaither Family Berkley Belknap

Editors-in-Chief Tyler Frick, Grace Gormley, Josie Vogel

would like to thank our sponsors...

The Martin Family Joanie Haney The Yen Family Jonathan Levav Cora Ross Myrna Gabbay

Creative Director Eliza Gaither Photo Editor Jason Hu Business Manager Katie Yen Copy Editor Claire Cho

Online Editor-in-Chief Tyler Martin Managing Editors Beau Revenaugh Aspen Stitt Social Media Managers Trey Collins Avery Reller

Staff Writers Emil Bothe, Roan Haney, Tyler Harrison, Ben Levav, Alena Lotterer, Evin Steele, Lucas Tung Adviser Brian Wilson

on the cover:

Our feature story, “Pickleball Prosperity” (pg. 16), highlights the sport that has taken the world by storm over the last five years. The story dives into the history of the game, the professional scene, and the impact it has had on students at Paly. (photo by Jason Hu). Back Cover photos by Jason Hu. Viking Magazine Palo Alto High School 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301 650-329-3837 Email contact: Follow us @vikingsportsmag or go to for current game updates/scores. Viking, a sports magazine published by the students in Palo Alto High School’s Advanced Magazine Journalism class, is an open forum for student expression and the discussion of issues of concern to its readership. Viking is distributed to its readers and the student body at no cost. The staff welcomes letters to the editor, but reserves the right to edit all submissions for length, grammar, potential libel, invasion of privacy and obscenity. Advertising in Viking The staff publishes advertisements with signed contracts providing they are not deemed by the staff inappropriate for the magazine’s audience. For more information about advertising with Viking, please contact Viking by email at Printing Services 2,500 copies of The Viking are printed, five times a year by Folger Graphics in Hayward, Calif. Logo Font Courtesy of Måns Grebäck

Letter from the EDITORS Hey Vikes! We are so excited to be back for a brand new school year, and a brand new year of Viking! Paly fall sports are well into their seasons, so make sure to check out our website (, to get score updates and read stories on every home sporting event at Paly. We are thrilled to share the first print issue of Viking in the 2023-24 school year with you all! Our cover story, “Pickleball Prosperity,” (Page 16) discusses the rapid ascension of pickleball, and how it has made waves globally, professionally, and locally here at Paly. “Private School Dominance: Does it Really Exist?” (Page 22) takes a closer look into whether private schools pose too much of a bully to public schools in high school sports. “Palo Alto Athletes Beyond” (Page 32)

checks in on six different Paly athletes across five different sports who went on to play collegiately - or even beyond. “Lessons from Little League” (Page 29) takes a stroll down memory lane, by talking to both athletes and non-athletes about what effect playing sports as a child had on their life. “Guilty Pleasures” (Page 14) reveals what Paly athletes consider is their guilty pleasure. Some athletes have a favorite jersey number that they can’t live without. Others just pick completely randomly! “Behind the Number” (Page 20) shows the unique decisions behind four different Paly student’s jersey numbers. Building muscle is crucial for many athletes to thrive within their sport, “The Science Behind Building Muscle” (Page 36) explores what Paly students know about building muscle, and explains ideal strat-

Tyler Frick

egies and sciences behind building muscle. The Viking Staff attended a girl’s volleyball practice, and competed in drills and a scrimmage. Check out “Staff Got Served” (Page 26) to figure out how Viking fared against the team. “What Fuels You?” (Page 12) shows which different sources of fuel Paly athletes use to get energy in games and workouts. Finally, Grace Gormley covers the first episode of “One Ship,” a student-produced documentary about the boys swim and dive team’s journey to their second CCS title, in “Filming Races, Making Waves,” (Page 40). We hope you enjoy our first issue of the year, and we can’t wait to see Paly’s athletic achievements throughout the year. Sko Vikes!

Grace Gormley

Josie Vogel


The Prime Effect Head coaches have always been stars throughout college sports. Players come and go, but the coaches stick around, and become the face of how your team is viewed by the public. Before the recent NIL changes - which allowed college athletes to be compensated for their name, image, and likeness - coaches were the only people receiving big time salaries in collegiate athletics. Historically, the typical “iconic college sports coach” has been known for their stern demeanor, professionalism, and their focus on winning, and nothing else. Major examples are Nick Saban with Alabama football, Mike Krzyzewski with Duke basketball, and even right in our backyard, Tara Vanderveer with Stanford women’s basketball. These coaches have been idolized for their lack of media presence, and their ability to focus on their team rather than “the cameras.” Now enter Deion Sanders, aka “Coach Prime,” a legendary former NFL player who has taken the country by storm after being hired as the head football coach at

the University of Colorado Boulder. Deion does anything but shy away from the media. Sanders grabs the attention of everyone, with his flashy sunglasses, chains, and frequent messages displayed across clothing. Sanders embraces style unlike anything collegiate sports has ever seen out of a head coach. Sanders burst onto the scene when a video clip of him speaking to the Colorado team went viral shortly after he was hired. He told many of his players to “hit the portal” - meaning he was urging them to transfer schools - because he was bringing in his own players, including his two sons Shadeur and Shilo Sanders. “I’m bringing my luggage with me, and it’s Louis [Vuitton],” Sanders said to his players. Sanders clearly has the confidence, style, and moxie that college football has lacked in head coaches in recent memory. So the question arises: how did the public react to this?

The answer is that they love it, more than anyone could have imagined. Colorado (who finished with a 1-11 record in 2022) has seen ticket sales rise a resounding 285%, and games that were half empty are now completely sold out. Celebrities like The Rock, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Matthew McConaughey, and Will Ferrell have all attended Colorado games this season. Colorado looked like a dying football program just six months ago, now they have the highest TV ratings in all of college sports - and it isn’t even close. The branding has started as well. Coach Prime partnered with Blenders eyewear to create “Prime sunglasses” and sold over $5 million worth in the first three days of presale. The “Prime Effect” is real, and if Colorado continues improving at the rate they already have, it may be the start of a new chapter for college coaching. Embracing money, fame, and the media may just be the brand new infrastructure of an iconic college sports coach. @vikingsportsmag | APRIL 2023 | 3

In This Issue... 16

Pickleball Prosperity


Behind the Number

06 Zooms


What Fuels You?


Guilty Pleasures



Private School Dominance




One Ship

Paly Prowess to Passions Beyond


Lessons From Little League

26 Staff Gets Served

Breaking The Mold

36 Science Behind Building Muscle

@vikingsportsmag | APRIL 2023 | 5

Photo by Jason Hu

Taking the


Paly boys water polo beat Hillsdale 22-11 at a home game on August 28th. Pictured: William Backstrand (‘25) taking a penalty shot.

Photo by Jason Hu

Reading the


Paly football played Fremont in their first game of the season on August 26th and won 28-10. Pictured: Quarterback Declan Packer (‘24) preparing to pass.


SPIKE Paly girls volleyball played against Cupertino Highschool on October 12th and won 3-1. Pictured: Sophie Mies (‘25) setting the ball for Naama Green (‘25) to spike.

Photo by Jason Hu

Blok Energy Chews

50 mg

“Blok Chews are The best when you don’t want a super intense caffeinated drink.” - Gabby loops (‘24)

“my go-to source of caffeine and such a solid part of my morning routine That i can’t go without.” - Miya Joshi (‘24)


75 mg

Yerba Mate

Herbal tea made from steeped yerba mate plant leaves. Boosts energy and focus.

Amino Lean

Contains L-Carnitine, green coffee extract, and green tea extract. Used for energy, weight loss, and muscle recovery.

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200 mg Celsius

Contains green tea with EGCG, ginger, calcium, chromium, B vitamins, and vitamin C. Used to raise metabolism while boosting energy.

200 mg Bang Energy

300 mg

150 mg

Contains super creatine, B-vitamins, and CoQ10 which may have health benefits. Used to enhance energy levels.

Beyond Raw Lit AF

300 mg


Contains carnosyn beta alanine, micronized creatine, caffeine anhydrous, and elvatp. Is a preworkout supplement used to increase endurance, energy, and focus.


by Avery Reller

FUELS You? A look at Paly athletes’ favorite sources of fuel for energy in games and workouts.

“I like the energy that Yerba gives me and they’re also just super refreshing.” - Ellery ames (‘24)

“My favorite flavor is Pink Lemonade. It’s a good amount of energy without making me feel jittery and gets me prepared to run.” - Scarlett Cummings (‘24)

“I love to drink a celsius before football practices and games because it energizes me so I’m ready to go from the moment I step on the field.” - Mack Reller (‘27)

“Bang Energy is a drink that really helps me get energized without feeling too wiped out after.” - Luke Joachim (‘26)

300 mg

“I use Lit AF the most compared to other preworkouts because it’s the one that gives me the most energy.” - Jeremiah Madrigal (‘24) @vikingsportsmag | OCTOBER 2023 | 13

PLEASURES From dessert before dinner to a burrito before practice, athletes have many guilty pleasures that range from possibly harmful to fun and relaxing. Let’s dive into what Paly athletes consider their guilty pleasures.



guilty pleasure can be defined his years. According to The Olympics’ as something that one enjoys official website, Phelps would famously even if it may be commonly eat around four times the daily recomlooked down upon, such as mended intake for a fully grown man, or eating sugary candy, scarfing down junk around 10,000 calories a day during his food, or enjoying an objectively bad time of intense training. song. Student-athletes at Paly face hours Most of the time a student-athlete isn’t of training every week paired with long putting down 10,000 calories as a guilty hours of studying, so how could this add- pleasure, but does this same principle ed element carry over to of their lifethe athletes style alter this of Paly, and definition for what do they “I like having [Gu’s] them, and are do when they before track meets guilty pleasures aren’t under because they give me really unacceptthe pressure to able for athletes? perform? a boost of energy Some argue One comthrough caffeine.” that the additionmon guilty -Monty Webber (‘25) al stress on athp l e a s u r e letes’ lives gives among Paly them an excuse athletes is havto indulge ing caffeine in their favorite guilty pleasures in their routines before their sports. It is from time to time when they common to walk around campus and aren’t playing their sport. see people with energy drinks, or taking A perfect example of this pre-workout before their practices or is the famous diet of Mi- games. chael Phelps, a swimCoaches and trainers tend to argue mer boasting that caffeine before exercise should be 23 Olympic avoided as it could cause a reliance on gold med- it to perform and jitteriness. Caffeine is als over looked down upon, especially for stu14 | VIKING MAGAZINE |

dent-athletes, as teenagers are shown to be more sensitive to its effects. However, it is also commonly thought that developing a strong routine can aid in getting in the right mindset, and ultimately performing at your peak. Because of this, many argue that even if what you do during your routine is looked down upon, if it helps you individually to perform, then it is

not only acceptable but encouraged. just doing what they want in their “My guilty pleasure is that before races, time outside of practice to enjoy I load up on Gu’s, which are these little themselves. Even if it may not be releenergy gel packets with different flavors. vant, sometimes just spending time with I like having them before track meets your teammates is important, especially because they give me a boost of ener- if you can unite over the commonality of a long session.” gy through caffeine,” cross country and your guilty pleasure. Guilty pleasures can track runner Monty Webber (25’) said. “I’d say my guilty pleasure would be come at a cost, and the The textbook using my team- consequences of them guilty pleasure mate Brian’s can be adverse, especially for many is eating c o n d i t i o n e r for athletes. For example, one “[In-N-Out is] a nice sugary foods, ofafter practices guilty pleasure such as caffeine ten generalized without him gels could cause a reliance on them thing to wind down and looked down knowing,” se- to perform, and overall physical health with after a long upon nowadays. nior water polo could be affected by such guilty pleasession.” Eating sugary player Harrison sures. foods is a comDike said. “EvFor athletes looking to maximize per-Oliver Rasmussen (‘25) monality across eryone always formance, indulging too much in a guilty Paly students and forgets to bring pleasure could cause a pitfall. In an age student-athletes their own for af- where medical studies about health, alike. Sugar is something that almost ter practice, and he has a super nice one wellness, and fitness are increasingly everyone loves, but it is discouraged fre- that we love to use.” abundant, we are bombarded with spequently, especially in an athletic diet beA familiar guilty pleasure to many cific information to better ourselves and cause it could cause things like crashes would be the quantity in which they in- our performance. in energy. dulge in the things they love. Even while These damage our attitudes towards No doubt, this attitude is ingrained in one’s guilty pleasure may be trivial, it’s our guilty pleasures by triggering a people and isn’t going away anytime common to feel bad after binging on a pursuit of perfection, making many feel soon. However, for a busy athlete with an large amount of it. guilty. However, indulging every once active lifestyle, adequately fueling your This feeling has its roots in a mentality in a while in moderation doesn’t cause body is extremely important. Indulging that the things you love, only in modera- harm to others, and so many of these in guilty food pleasures could come to tion, are alright. Because of this, no mat- feelings of shame and guilt are not waran athlete’s aid at times, especially when ter what people choose to do, many have ranted. they need a quick boost from sugar to guilt in the back of their minds about the Overall, a guilty pleasure can be broken get the energy they need. quantity in which they love. down into an attitude of how we refer“My guilty pleasure is eating my grand“I’d say my guilty pleasure would be ence them, usually in an almost shameful ma’s delicious sugar cookies before run- grapes. I bring manner. Simply ning a few miles,” cross-country runner them to practice avoiding your “Using my teammate Ellie Roth (‘24) said. and share with guilty pleasure Some athletes’ guilty plea- my team and we is no way to Brian’s conditioner sures have nothing to will go through go about your after practices do with fueling them- a big bag of life, as enjoying without him selves or getting them within a things in modprepared to per- practice,” senior eration is genknowing.” form, but rather Reine Schultz erally alright; a -Harrison Dike (‘24) said. balanced life is When you think a healthy life. about a food that While comhas been perpletely avoidpetuated as bad for you and demonized ing your guilty pleasures may be slightly in recent fitness standards, many think beneficial for your health, it’s not benefiof the American classic; a cheeseburger cial for your happiness. For many people, with fries. Since it is such an emblematic especially athletes, shame is not a profood of bad health with excess fat and ductive feeling to have regarding what sodium, many athletes find it hard to not you like to indulge in, so breaking the feel guilty after eating them. stigma around guilty pleasures could be In reality, eating your guilty pleasures in a step in the right direction for athletes. moderation is all a part of a balanced life, In conclusion, a guilty pleasure to an especially for an athlete. athlete can have consequences that “After I play, I like to go to In-N-Out with should be taken note of, but avoiding my friends since it’s super close to the them entirely is no solution as indulging, courts, and it’s super fun,” junior Oliver in moderation, is a part of a healthy and Rasmussen said. “Even though it’s proba- balanced lifestyle of an athlete. bly not the most healthy, it’s super good and a nice thing to wind down with after @vikingsportsmag | OCTOBER 2023 | 15




Pickleball has had a rapid ascension over the last few years across the world. Explore the sport’s history, how it is played, the professional scene, and the reason for its skyrocketing popularity.


ickleball is the sport that continued to play and shaped the game Seasoned pickleball player and current has taken America by storm and rules to the pickleball we know to- Paly PE teacher, Peter Diepenbrock, exover the past few years. Mil- day. plains how he originally picked up the lions of people across the Pickleball is played in a 44x20 foot sport. country have picked up the sport as a rectangular area. Each side of the court “We’ve had pickleball in PE here at Palo hobby, or even a profession, playing it has a small area called the “kitchen”, a Alto as part of our curriculum since the every chance they get. Pickleseven foot wide rectangle in early 1990s, but I didn’t start playing seriball was once a niche sport, which volleys can not be ously until 2018,” Diepenbrock said. ignored by the general made. Lastly, there is a Pickleball is similar in style to other public until Covid-19 centerline on each sports such as tennis, ping pong, and struck the world. side of the court to badminton, but it has its own unique na“In pickleball, I was With close conhelp people know ture that makes it appealing to all genlearning something new tact team sports where to serve. erations. like basketball Similarly to tenPickleball offers a different skill set than everyday and it was fun out of the quesnis, pickleball other similar sports, as it requires a lot to see the growth of my tion, pickleball requires players more touch and precision with each shot. began to rise in to hit the ball game.” - professional game popularity due to back and forth. pickleball player Connor the space factor However, pickleGarnett the court providball uses a smaller ed between your plastic paddle and team and your oppoa wiffle ball, rather nents while maintaining than a racket and tenenough proximity to remain nis ball. Furthermore, the social. Even though the social rules are actually quite different. distancing mandate and Covid are most- Games in pickleball are played to elevly behind us, pickleball’s rapid ascension en points, but a point is only counted continues. when the team serving the ball scores. Pickleball was in- In pickleball, it is mandatory to let vented in 1965 by both the serve, and the return of serve Joel Pritchard bounce before any player can volley it. and Bill Bell in This allows the team returning the serve Washington to have an advantage, and get to the after playing kitchen quicker. If the team who does badminton not serve the ball gets a point, it does with a ball not count towards their official score, Photo by Lucas Tung and ping but they now get the opportunity to Oliver Rasmussen (‘25) playing pickleball after pong pad- serve the ball themselves, and score school at Mitchell Park, where dozens of people dle. They points. gather everyday to play

Photo courtesy of Connor Garnett

Connor Garnett prepares to hit the ball at a professional tournament Specifically, the “dink”, a short bump that lands in the opposing kitchen, is utilized a lot by high-level players, and is an extremely effective shot. It may look pretty weak to the unassuming audience, but the dink is possibly the most lethal shot in the game, because if it’s placed correctly, it prevents the opposing team from volleying back – and potentially hitting a winner. Professional pickleball player, Connor Garnett, who is ranked fourth in the world for singles, and 19th in the world for doubles, explains how he enjoys working on his game and seeing growth. “You can take the time to get into the details and master it,” Garnett said. “In pickleball, I was learning something new everyday and it was fun to see the growth of my game.” Current Paly junior and avid pickleball player Oliver Rasmussen further explains his love for seeing growth in his game. “I really got satisfaction out of working on my game that I haven’t really found other sports before,” Rasmussen said. “I’m always willing to go back out because it’s easy to practice and you can choose to go out and practice with other people.”

Diepenbrock adds what makes pickle- quick learning curve to get to the point ball appealing to him. where you can be competitive.” “What makes it a lot of fun is [that] it’s Garnett adds his ideas surrounding the [primarily] doubles,” Diepenbrock said. ease in which pickleball can be played. “So I like the teamwork aspect of it where “What makes pickleball unique is the you get to work with another person.” ease of being able to play it,” Garnett Alongside the teamwork aspect of said. “That barrier to entry is a lot lower, pickleball, there is a massive strategic el- and if you have decent hand-eye [coorement that goes along with it. The court dination], you’re able to pick it up and is much smaller than a tennis court, so play.” players must position themselves acWhile most people play pickleball as a cordingly and each shot must be placed hobby, there are a certain number perfectly to get your opponents of people, like Garnett, who off guard. play it professionally, or “I like the exercise and even as a lifestyle. I like the strategy,” “From my person"It’s changed a lot of Diepenbrock said. al experience, just “Basically, it’s a very when you call it people’s lives as far small court and a hobby, I think as just giving them a it’s very easy to certain people slam the ball. So would have issocial outlet, and an you have to be sues with that, exercise outlet. It really very smart with “ Diepenbrock each shot that you said. “There’s has a huge community make, so the other people I know aspect to it.” - Peter team doesn’t have that play literally an opportunity to put six or seven hours a Diepenbrock it away.” day. And so for them One of the biggest apto say it’s a hobby, it’s peals for pickleball and the [more] like a way of life for rise of its popularity is its simplicity a lot of people. It’s changed a lot in nature and the easy learning curve for of people’s lives as far as just giving them newer players. a social outlet, and an exercise outlet. It “You can learn [pickleball] pretty quick- really has a huge community aspect to it.” ly,” Diepenbrock said. “There’s a pretty Pickleball has a major impact on com @vikingsportsmag | OCTOBER 2023 | 17

munities, due to its ability to bring people together across all ages. The appeal of pickleball lies in this community aspect, it offers both a social and physical outlet that makes it intriguing for all people. Arjun Jindal, a sophomore at Paly who occasionally plays pickleball, reflects on pickleball’s rapid rise to the mainstream, and its appeal to the older generation. “When I go to play pickleball at the public courts, there are tons of old people playing,” Jindal said. “I think since the court is pretty small, and there is less of a need to run around, pickleball is a really good sport for older, less mobile people.” The rapid rise of pickleball can be partially credited to the sport’s accessibility. The only required equipment needed for pickleball is a paddle, court, and a ball. Unlike other sports like football and baseball the lack of necessary equipment makes it really easy to play pickleball. “Part of the reason I started playing pickleball was because it’s super easy to play.” Jindal said. “The first time I went to play, my friend brought these $5.00 paddles and a wiffle ball. It’s super easy to get equipment.” Another aspect of the sport that is ben-

efitting from the recent surge of pickle- happened definitely calmed it down, ball, is the professional scene. Garnett having a unified Major League Pickleball shares his experience on tour. and Professional Pickleball Association, “Starting professionally is kind of a which is awesome for the players.” tricky question, like I guess I played my The merger of the pickleball leagues first pro tournament in September [of allows for more diversity in the matches 2022],” Garnett said. “I was still working that people play. full time, but I just threw my hat “It is really great that we are goin the ring and was foring to be able to play against tunate enough to get everyone, so I am really silver in singles and stoked about that,” Gardoubles in that nett said. "Pickleball has gone one.” The constant After getting change and growth from irrelevant to one his feet wet in of professional of the fastest growing the professionpickleball offers al scene, Garunexpected and sports in the matter of nett shined in dynamic experiearly 2023. ences for the playtwo years.” years “I really made ers. - Arjun Jindal (‘26) the leap at the “There’s a lot of beginning of this new players comyear,” Garnett said. ing into the space, it’s “I got drafted for Chalchanging everyday, and lenger League Major it’s one of the fastest changLeague Pickleball and I was ing sports as well which is really offered a gold card by the PPA and so cool,” Garnett said. “You’ve got to make once I was able to afford to travel to all sure you’re constantly staying up to the of these tournaments I started really trav- task and that’s one of the most exciting eling on the tour and that’s when I would things, you never know who you are gosay I made the leap to focusing on it full ing to meet.” time.” Within the professional world, there are With the professional scene for pickle- two kinds of tournaments: individual and ball being pretty new, there is a lot going team. Individual tournaments are similar on in order to make it a consistent and to tennis, consisting of singles, doubles, efficient system. and mixed doubles, each played on a “The professional scene is pretty cha- different day of the tournament. Team otic right now which is pretty cool,” Gar- tournaments are where players are a part nett said. “I think the merger that just of a professional association or team. For Garnett, he is a member of the Bay Area Breakers. Each team consists of four players, two guys and two girls, who compete head-to-head against another team. The two guys on each team play doubles against each other, the girls play doubles against each other, and then there is a round of mixed doubles as well. Garnett enjoys this system of professional pickleball. “One of the cool things about it is you can have both individual tournaments, and work and play on Photo by Lucas Tung a team which is awe-


Photo courtesy of Connor Garnett

Connor Garnett reaches out for the ball some,” Garnett said. In his preparations for matches and tournaments, Garnett puts a heavy focus on his mentality. “I prepare for matches just making sure the night before I am mentally ready. I think that’s the most important part is going to bed in a good mental headspace,” Garnett said. Not only is it essential to be mentally ready for the game, but you have to be physically ready for all the quick movements and difficult shots. “In the morning it is important to do all of the typical routines, get a good warmup in, stretch out, stay loose, have a good breakfast, all kinds of the basic things,” Garnett said. “It really starts for me the night before, and I have a specific routine of those things to make sure I do.” T h e speed of pickl e b a l l ’s growth, both as a hobby and a

profession, has been eye popping, leaving many of us to wonder how far can it go? “Pickleball has gone from irrelevant to one of the fastest growing sports in the matter of two years.” Jindal said. “I think in a [couple] of years we could s e e pickleball be as big as sports like basketball, from a recreational standpoint.” Pickleball has the potential to grow into a mainstream sport, enjoyed by millions of people across the globe. “I do think that it will get to the point where you see pickleball courts, just like

you see tennis courts now,” Diepenbrock said. Furthermore, pickleball has the potential to develop into a sport that people play as a part of their high school, just like tennis and badminton. [I think] eventually, it’ll be a high school sport,” Rasmussen said. “It’s definitely still pretty small right now, but my hope is that it grows to be a pretty big sport.” Despite the fact that pickleball is relatively small right now, simply the growth that the sport has experienced recently makes the sky the limit for the future of the sport. “The future is bright for pickleball," Garnett said. "I am really excited to be a part of it."

Pickleball has an 11.5% average annual growth over the past five years - USA Pickleball

@vikingsportsmag | OCTOBER 2023 | 19





Most professional athletes have a special number they choose when deciding what their jersey number will be for a particular sport. This is even true for Paly athletes. “My jersey number is 12. I chose this number because when my brother was at Paly playing water polo, he was number 6. I wanted to have something in common with

my brother without it being too obvious, so I took 6 and multiplied it by 2.”

-Reine Shultz ‘24


“I chose number seven as my number because I really like this number and I was born in 2007. There was an old water polo captain who had the same number who inspired


-Lydia Mitz ‘25 20 | VIKING MAGAZINE |


“The inspiration for my number is

my dad. He wore the same

number in high school and I wanted to wear it as well to be like

him. It also carries throughout my life and now is my number.”

-Jeremiah Fung ‘25

“My number is 4, and I chose it because it’s a new number that I’ve never had before. I like having new numbers


because it feels like a reset

for a new season.”

-Juliet Frick ‘27



public school has not won the California state division 1 football title since 2008. According to Niche, of the 25 best athletic schools in the country, only five of them are public, and all of the top nine are private, despite the national ratio of public schools to private schools being around ten to three. It is clear that athletes attending private schools have a disproportionate advantage in athletics. How are private schools able to maintain such dominant sports programs? One reason is simply the size of the proverbial net a school can cast. The influx of skilled players varies year by year. The only athletes allowed to attend a certain public school are students who live in the nearby area. So while a private school like Serra has players coming from all over the region, Paly is restricted to just part of Palo Alto. Independent of transferring, athletes aspiring for a strong high school career have more options when choosing between private schools vs. public schools. Another driving factor is money. With tuition averaging over $20,000 for high schools (and tuition for Bay Area schools, like Castilleja, can be as high as $60,000 per year), private schools have the option of spending on high quality athletic programs. A public school also only has a certain amount of funding they can devote to athletics, and so instead of having separate experts and staff who enhance athletes in all facets of their game — as





Private and public schools often perform differently in athletics. Let’s take a deeper look into what it means to play sports at a private high school in comparison to public schools like Paly.

story and design by CLAIRE CHO, EMIL BOTHE, and BEN LEVAV photos courtesy of KAREN AMBROSE-HICKEY


many private schools have — teams will generally have one coach who manages every part of the team. With updated gyms, high quality equipment and well-paid coaches, it makes sense that training in these schools might produce a higher quality team. Additionally, parents who can send their children to expensive private schools also might have the means for their kids to play on expensive club sports teams, which might help athletes improve outside of school at a faster rate than those who cannot play on a club team outside of their school season. Another advantage that private schools have is in the coaching department. A team’s success is just as reliant on the coach as the players, but a coach has only so much control over the outcome of a game. No matter how good the game plan is, public school coaches especially will struggle from not having skillful enough players or enough resources to compete with private school powerhouses. Coach Scott Peters coached the girls basketball team at Paly up until last season, ending his 18-year run. “If a private school decides that they want to compete at a sport, there are advantages there,” Peters said. “They can take people from all over the area. Private schools put more money into sports and have more backup. They’ll pay for assistant coaches, they’ll pay for people to open and run the gym, they have a little bit more financial help, like paying people to support their sports.” During most of his tenure, Peters managed to build a competitive team. This was not any easy task, however, and required using unique tactics to ensure players wanted to come play for Paly.

California’s CIF Bylaw 510 “prohibits any person or persons to secure, retain or influence what high school a student attends.”

A private school with a strong sports team can sometimes run their own AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) team for players not yet at high school age, Even though AAU is not considered a school team, coaches can establish relationships with players at a young age and help increase the influx of athletes to their school. This works in two ways, according to Peters. “One, the players can play your system, you can teach them what you want. Two, They can get used to you as a head coach,” Peters said. Creatively, Peters created an AAU program for Paly to help encourage skilled athletes to attend the school and keep numbers up. “I created an AAU program in order to keep players,” Peters said. “It keeps them from going to other AAU’s that feed into a private school. So at Paly, we kept a lot of players, and for a number of years we were able to compete with private schools.” This creative strategy helped Paly, but overall, the advantage in coaching helps give private schools yet another edge over private schools. But does more money for equipment and staff account for the difference between public and private schools across the board? After all, Paly is a public school, but we also have a new gym, generally high-quality equipment, and many Paly athletes play on club teams outside of school. The answer may lie in the recruitment of athletes to certain schools via transfer af-

ter the student has established themself as a strong athlete at their local public (or other private) school. While students can try and play for whatever school they want, coaches are not allowed to recruit high school players. In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled on a 9-0 decision that private school coaches did not have the right to contact students and suggest that they join their school and team. California’s CIF Bylaw 510 “prohibits any person or persons to secure, retain or influence what high school a student attends.” For many coaches however, this is just a technicality. Illegal recruitment and questionable transfers happens constantly, and usually goes unpunished. So no schools can technically ‘recruit.’ But somehow private schools still do? Why can’t public schools do the same thing? It is far easier to transfer to a private school than public school since housing rules don’t apply to private schools as they do to public schools. Also, private schools have many advantages (that would merit a transfer) that public schools typically cannot offer. Overall, this all means that private schools have an advantage in the covert process of ‘recruiting.’ So how does ‘recruitment’ in private school happen if it’s illegal? There are many ways this could occur. A school — not the coach of a team, but the school itself —

Of the 25 best athletic schools in the country, only five of them are public

@vikingsportsmag | OCTOBER 2023 | 23

could invite a student to attend a tour, where they may have the chance to meet a coach on campus (this helps get around the Supreme Court’s ruling by qualifying as “undue influence”). Despite not being able to offer athletic scholarships, private schools can offer academic scholarships to help entice players to attend their school — and play on their teams. There are harsh legal punishments for recruiting, but only for the coaches or school officials involved. According to Kevin Hoffman of the website Coach & A.D., the parents generally don’t have to worry. “The parents take no risk, because the state h i g h school associations have no authority to punish them,” he wrote. “The coaches, however, put their jobs and teaching certificates on the line if they’re found responsible for aiding a transfer.” This is not to say that all private school recruits, nor that public schools cannot try the same methods. But even without bypassing recruitment laws, the advantages in athletics that private schools have over public schools — like a larger student net, better facilities and generally more privileged athletes — leaves a gap that is usually too large to overcome. Lots of student athletes at Paly have opinions on the fairness of playing against private schools. For example, girls water polo player and junior Lydia Mitz has qualms about the fairness of playing in the same league with private schools. “Private schools obviously have a big advantage because they essentially recruit people to play for them,” Mitz said. Mitz is a three year water polo athlete at Paly. She has been on varsity since sophomore year. Paly girls water polo competes against Castilleja and the Harker School in league games, though they are often moved to a different CCS league since they are smaller schools. The water polo team ended a 13-year losing streak against Castilleja last year, and defended their win during their first game this year. They still have yet to beat the Harker School. Having had such an overall positive ex-

perience with the sport, Mitz explains that a big part of it was because of the bonds and relationships she has been able to form while on the team. The environment is competitive but also extremely enjoyable for her with the people she’s become close with.

Francis and it just feels really good.” Private schools provide an undeniable advantage in the college application process. According to James Murphy of Slate. com, “12 percent [of Harvard admits in 2018] were legacies, [but] almost 40 percent of the class went to a private school.” A high school athlete trying to play college sports wants to place themselves in the best possible position to succeed, so attending a private school — complete with high-quality equipment and a strong coaching staff — is likely to help them with their college search. Some Paly athletes have opted for the option of transferring to private schools to help further their academic career. One such student says that their experience with the transfer process was not as they had hoped. “I initially transferred because I was told that the only way to reach the next level was through the [private school league],” the anonymous student said. “I now know this is completely wrong, and SCVAL is competitive and offers a pathway to college or pro.” This athlete ended up transferring back to Paly during the same year. “I transferred back because of multiple reasons,” they said. “I didn’t really fit with the school — [I’m] not trashing the school, it just wasn’t me — terrible commute, and I was not allowed to play [my sport] for [a year].” Something that this athlete hadn’t been told when they decided to make the switch was that they wouldn’t be able to play the same year that they transferred. What this athlete had to deal with is called a sit-out period. A sit-out period is generally defined as a period of time where a student is not allowed to participate in a varsity sport after they transfer for the first time in high school. According to the CIF bylaw 207(b)(5)b(ix), “The Sit Out Period

“Sometimes out of nowhere, we beat a [private] school like saint francis and it just feels really good.” -Lydia Mitz (‘25) “Some of my closest friends were made on the water polo team last year, and I’m not sure I would have continued playing if it weren’t for them,” Mitz said. The varsity water polo team has practice at least once a day, every day of the week. Twice a week, they have morning practices before school at 7 a.m., and also practice after school for two more hours. The required commitment for this team plays a big part in their discipline and success as a team. “It is hard to get everyone motivated sometimes, especially with all the fun school activities in these first few months of school,” Mitz said. “But it is very important to be at all practices, so we do our best to put the sport first.” With this amount of commitment, the Paly girls water polo team supports each other throughout the entire season. This may be just what gives them a shot when playing against better facilitated private schools where sports are a big emphasis. “It’s very important to fight against private schools,” Mitz said. “Every year we lose to Sacred Heart (School) and it’s always really hard– like last year we got destroyed by them. But sometimes, out of nowhere, we beat a school like Saint


will be 50% of the total number of days in that particular season of sport.” What this means for student athletes is that they cannot participate in any school sport that they played at their old school within the last year. When this athlete transferred back, they realized the value of Paly and our athletic program. “The school I wanted to transfer to is a very good school and has put up some top notch athletes,” the anonymous student said. “Coming back to Paly has made me realize that I was completely wrong about public school competition. We have put up some absolute studs as well, and honestly, coming back was one

“Coming back to Paly has made me realize that I was completely wrong about public school competition. We have put up some absolute studs.” -ANONYMOUS of the best things I’ve done for my individual career, [though] it’s different for everyone.” They attribute many life lessons to the program at Paly. “[My coach] and previous players in

the program have taught me the value of hard work and given me the ropes to succeed beyond my high school years,” the athlete said. The competition between public and private schools can be heated, and — while it is undeniable that certain private schools have an advantage over public schools — many public schools and Paly in particular produce incredible opportunities for athletes all the same. Private schools by default will always have certain benefits that public schools can not match, but that does not mean that public schools teams can not compete with or even defeat these dominant private schools from time to time. The goal of a public school is to be well rounded in all areas and not specifically strong in athletics, and so to try and solve an inequality in sports that is unsolvable does not make sense. Instead, public schools like Paly should have pride for their sports, and celebrate the success they can achieve.

of the top ranked teams in California in

9 7 7 5 4


of 10 BASEBALL teams were private schools

of 10 FOOTBALL teams were private schools

of 10 BOYS LACROSSE teams were private schools of 10 BOYS BASKETBALL teams were private schools

of 10 BOYS SOCCER teams were private schools

According to, fewer than 1 in 10 California students attend private schools. @vikingsportsmag | OCTOBER 2023 | 25

Staff Gets

g n i k i Tries



The Viking staff joined the girls volleyball team for a practice to see how our staff compared to volleyball athletes. Did the staff’s athletic abilities in other sports enable them to keep up in this technical sport?



aly offers a wide variety of We will be following a condensed versports, running from the fall sion of their typical practice regime, and season to the spring season — in true Paly competitive spirit, we will be one of those sports being vol- facing the volleyball team in a round of leyball. While the boys volleyball season six-on-six. Will the Viking staff be able to takes place in the spring, Palys girls vol- keep up? leyball season is currently in full swing. The staff They’re known to be one of the better joined in on public school teams in the area, ranking a Friday afterninth of all girls high school varsity vol- noon practice, leyball teams in the Bay Area and cur- and the coach rently being undefeated in their league. began teachWith two games a week and occasional ing the basics. tournaments on weekends, the Paly girls After a quick volleyball teams are in practice for two shoulder warm, hours every day after school. the coach went The staff here at Viking wanted to see over the three how we would fare in a volleyball practice basic volleycompared to the Paly Volleyball team. ball motions, The participating staff includes seniors bump, set, and Grace Gormley (swimmer), Tyler Frick spike. Each Viking participant partnered (basketball), Tyler Martin (basketball), up with a varsity player for passing drills Aspen Stitt (field hockey & lacrosse), to practice each motion. and Alena Lotterer (diving). Their volley“I felt very welcomed and comfortable. ball experience goes as far as the vol- The volleyball players were really paleyball unit in middle school P.E. class- tient and helpful. It was all smiles and a es. The girl’s volleyball team agreed to very positive practice environment,” Stitt let Viking said. staff memStartbers paring with ticipate bumpin one of ing, the their pracViking tices. The m e m coach and b e r s a varsity seemed players to quickwill then ly grasp rate the their beCoach Chris Crader teaches the Viking staff the basics of volleyball. staff’s perginner formance volleyon a scale of one through ten. Their ball skills. practice typically consists of a warm-up “I thought it was pretty easy but when that mainly focuses on shoulder exercis- actually applying it to a game, you have es, drill sets, and six on six scrimmages. to bump the serve or a spike and the

technique really comes into play,” Tyler Martin said. The staff then moved on to setting the ball. “It’s kind of a delicate move you have to get, you have to have a nice touch, hand placement has to be right … It’s a part of the game that gets overlooked because it isn’t as flashy,” Frick said. After quickly mastering that, they began practicing their serves. Despite being off to a rocky start with many failed serves, the staff quickly caught on after some additional coaching from varsity players. “I got a lot better as I got more reps and coaching from the coach and the players,” Frick said. The staff then lined up to practice spiking the ball. The staff had to first bump the ball to another player, who would then return it with a set, after which they would spike it over the net. This proved to be the most challenging motion for the staff as it required timing, a strong and high jump, accuracy, and a technical downward hit to get a good spike. “I felt that I was at a bit of a height disadvantage, which caused me to hit the ball into the net a good amount of the time,” Lotterer said. After a quick pep talk with the coach and all the basic volleyball skills mastered, the team began a scrimmage against the Paly girls volleyball team. Despite being one person short of six,

“I thought it was pretty easy but when actually applying it to a game, you have to bump the serve or a spike and the technique really comes into play,”

- Tyler Martin (‘24)


the staff began the scrimmage. “Going into the scrimmage, I felt pretty well prepared. Over the course of the practice and drills, I definitely improved my skills and technique. The only thing that I was worried about was working together with the team because most of the drills that we did during practice were individual, so I was worried about the team aspect,” Martin said. The scrimmage began with Stitt’s first serve. Tossing the ball in the air, she hits it with a strong force but not enough upward direction. The ball goes straight into the net. The game is off to a rocky start for the Viking staff. However, things picked up two serves later when they got their first point. Working together with their strong suit in bumping the ball, they were able to return the Paly volleyball team’s first two serves, scoring a point on their second serve. However, if Viking was able to get a first pass, their communication to get the second or third pass off seemed to be lost. “I just don’t think we were super focused after returning the serve. We were just happy if we didn’t lose the point at the serve, and then would just forget about the rest,” Lotterer said. The Viking team also seemed to have a hard time setting and spiking. Instead of spiking the ball over the net, they would often send the ball over the net with a

bump, making it much easier for the vol- developed in order to have accuracy for leyball team to get a first pass. Despite passes, serves, and kills. losing the scrimmage to the girls volley“I honestly thought we were going to ball team with do a lot better. a concluding “Communication and team It’s not just hitscore of 11-9, the ting a ball up in bonding is super important the air. We found staff still learned many valuable ... You can’t have six people certain aspects skills from this of the sport on the court each trying to more challengpractice. The staff received an ing than expectdo their own thing,” average score ed, and I can see of 6.2 out of 10 the technique on their perforthat makes a mance from the good volleyball coach and varsity players. player. I have a new respect for volley“We did a good job of taking Coach ball players,” Lotterer said. Chris’s advice and learning from it, and Not only did the Viking staff have an overall in the scrimmage, we worked eye opening experience to the techwell as a team but we definitely have nique involved in volleyball, but they some more work to do,” Gormley said. also discovered the importance of team “Given that we didn’t learn to dig or chemistry. dive for the ball, I think we did pretty “Communication and team bonding good responding to the fast serves and is super important because volleyball is spikes at us. However, I think we defi- a team sport. You can’t have six people nitely could’ve done better and there on the court each trying to do their own were lots of lost points that could have thing,” senior varsity player Kylie Yen been won,” “Lotterer said. said. “When we’re more bonded and From their time in one Paly girls vol- we’re communicating, we have a better leyball practice, volleyball proved to be understanding of each other and what harder than the Viking thought it would another person might do.” be, and the Viking staff learned lots of In the end, our Viking staff had a blast great insights and lessons on the sport in their hour of being on the volleyball of volleyball. team. We would highly recommend the They learned that there’s a high level sport. of skill and technique that needs to be

- Kylie Yen (‘24)

Check out the video of our Viking Tries made by EIC Grace Gormley

@vikingsportsmag | OCTOBER 2023 | 27



Senior Varsity Player Kylie Yen defines terms as a volleyball expert while the Viking Staff collectively comes up with their own definitions

Serving Kylie: The serve is the initiation of the ball into the play, and is typically done by tossing the ball with one hand and hitting it over the net with the other hand. Staff: The serve is where you hit the ball from the back of the court to the other side of the net to start a round of the game.

Bumping Kylie: The bump is typically the first touch, and it’s an underhand pass using the forearms. Staff: With your hands together, you hit the ball up and pass it to a teammate using your forearms.

Setting Kylie: A set is typically a second touch, and it’s when a player uses their hands to set the ball up for another player. Staff: Getting under the ball, you have your arms above your head and you pass the ball by hitting it with your finger tips.

Spiking Kylie: The spike is typically the third and final touch, and it’s when the attacker jumps and hits the ball off of the set. Staff: You jump up and hit the ball, overhand, as hard as you can over the net to try and keep the other team from getting a first touch.





nyone who passes by the Greene Middle School field on a Saturday morning will see hundreds of little kids running clumsily around chasing soccer balls. Many of us were once members of this herd, and have fond memories of our years with the youth soccer club AYSO. But what many people ignore is that these kids are gaining long-term benefits that will aid them throughout their lives. Childhood athletics help kids learn cooperation, friendship and patience, all while allowing them to exert their energy in positive ways. Along with that, these benefits will carry with them into adulthood. In a high school environment filled with academic pressures and screen time, sports serve as a healthy outlet for stress and anxiety. Engaging in sports can teach athletes how to manage their emotions, stay focused, and maintain a balanced mental state. Paly is known for our strong athletics program, and many of the student athletes that make up that program have been a part of the sports world for a large part of their lives. According to the National Center for Health Statistics in 2020, 54.1% of children aged 6-17 years participated in sports in the past 12 months. But how does that reflect in the community at Palo Alto High School?

After speaking with a plethora of athletes and non-athletes, students generally expressed their gratitude towards their parents for putting them in sports in early childhood even if they did not continue that sport in later age. Freshmen Melody Xu started swimming at the age of four, and thinks that starting at such a young age contributed positively to her character development. “I competed in swim events, and though I did not always win, I

learned what it is like to accept defeat and learn to improve my mistakes early on, which helped me tremendously currently and in the future,” Xu said.

“I learned what it is like to accept defeat and to learn to iMprove my mistakes.” - Melody Xu ‘27

Photos courtesy of Melody Xu

“Physical exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters that overall improve mental resilience.” - Henry Harding ‘25

children are more successful in learning from those mistakes because they have malleable brains that can react to errors, and make changes faster than older athletes. Along with the educational aspect of sports, they allow children to not only release energy and get tired-out, but also get “feel-good” neurotransmitters our brains search for. Junior Henry Harding has played baseball since he was three years old, and attributes his athletic abilities and good mental health to his early childhood experiences with athletics. “Physical exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters that overall improve mental resilience,” junior Henry Harding said. Kids have a lot of energy, which can either be released in this way, or be released in more negative ways. Athletics give kids an outlet to release their anxiety through kicking a soccer ball rather than taking their anger out on others. “I used to have intense temper tantrums, so my parents decided to put me into gymnastics when I was 6 to get my anger out in a healthier way,” said a senior who wished to remain anonymous. “I remember coming home talking about all of the cool tricks I learned instead of crying and screaming to my parents.” Along with the benefits, we also need

to acknowledge the Photos courtesy of drawbacks of Henry Harding starting sports from a young age. Sophomore An Nguyen understands that the caveat to athletics is that it can be serious and tear away the enjoyment of the because of the positive expesport. rience he has had. “To get really good, you have to be se“I found something I really rious about the sport from a young age, enjoy and I’ve made a lot of but that can be stressful and take away connections through it,” Lee the joy that comes with athletics,” Nguy- said. en said. Making connections is a large Children in sports aren’t just playing part of child development, accordgames; they are building the foundation ing to Hilary McDaniel, instructor of for their future, and it is important that the Childhood Development pathway. being an athlete doesn’t take priority She has a different perspective on modover the joyful moments of being a kid. ern day child athletics. Instead, they should help build a sense “Strict sports, like competitive soccer of community within the young athletes. or baseball clubs, can have a negative Junior Holden Lee has played tennis impact on a child’s life,” McDaniel said, since he was six, and is still playing today “In these sports, negative feedback and


harsh criticism can leave children with an over competitive attitude and cause anger issues later in life.” McDaniel is not alone in her critiques of early childhood sports. According to an article published in 2019 by Miami University professor of sport leadership and management, Dr. Thelma Horn, “Self-fulfilling prophecies happen when expectations become a reality, or when biases and initial judgments dictate athletic development and achievement.” Coaches who exhibit these kinds of biases often perceive athletes as being either high-expectancy or low-expectancy players. Young athletes are particularly vulnerable to this bias because most have not yet fully developed. This puts children on diverging paths that an either limit their potential or lead to outright failure. This aggressive environment and tricky scenarios call for some speculation as to how beneficial competitive teams are for younger athletes. “I think, if I were a hundred percent honest, I think it would be more beneficial if parents/adults were minimally involved. Like just running out and forming their own games on their own terms. Learning to make their own teams and also figuring out disputes by themselves. Where is the children’s ability to develop their own sense of agency when kids are dictated by an overcontrolling force, like an overbearing coach?” McDaniel said.

“Where is the child’s ability to develop their own sense of agency when kids are dictated by an overcontrolling force, like an overbearing coach?” - Hilary McDaniel T h a t being said, through physical fitness, character development, self-confidence, social interaction, and improved mental health, young athletes who are high expectancy acquire a toolkit that will serve them well throughout their lives. Encouraging children to engage in sports is not just about winning medals, but about nurturing well-rounded individuals who

are equipped to face life’s challenges with grace and resilience. This calls to the importance of positive coaching. Parents and coaches must understand that skill levels will vary. Progression rates will be uneven. Some players will want feedback that reduces their anxiety. While others will thrive on information that drives performance. And so on. They should start with the expectation that everyone can improve. The growth mindset should always stay strong. So, whether they’re playing on a soccer field, in a swimming pool, or on a basketball court, let’s celebrate the incredible journey of children in sports and the boundless o p p o rt u n i t i e s it provides for their growth and development.

Photos courtesy of Katie Yen

@vikingsportsmag | OCTOBER 2023 | 31

From Paly Prowess to


Viking Magazine interviewed Paly athletes who are currently playing NCAA or professional sports. These athletes looked back at their experience at Paly and explained what college sports mean to them.


Harrison Williams ‘22 Williams Swimming


howing great success in and out liams said. of the pool at Paly, Harrison WilHe continues to work on his swimliams took ming talents while “[Paly swim coach] Dan- also strengthenthe opportunity to continue to purhis academic ny [Dye] did a great job ing sue his talents in career but balanccollege at Williams preparing me for college es his team much College in Williamdifferently than he stown, Massachu- swimming with his high did at Paly. setts. volume of practices.” “I’m spending Williams offers more time at the - Harrison Williams a student athlete athletic facilities, experience that and spending differs greatly from what Williams ex- more time doing my school work as perienced in high school. well,” he said. “I spend a lot less time in “It definitely is a higher workload class here than I did at Paly, with some overall as the practices are a higher in- days having just one class that is an tensity and more tiring than Paly,” Wil- hour long, but I’m definitely spending a lot more time outside of class to prepare for exams or just to finish various assignments.” Although collegiate swimming can prove to be a daunting experience, there are immense benefits that make the experience enjoyable. WIlliams College Swimming has a tradition during the preseason called “Fun Friday’’ where the students will join together on a Friday afternoon and bond over a relaxing non-swimming activity. “Some of my favorite times were just playing capture the pineapple or out 32 | VIKING

doing a Slip N’ Slide with all of my teamm a t e s ,” Williams said. Williams is extremely grateful for all the experience that Paly provided him before his collegiate career, particularly shouting out his coach, Danny Dye. “Yes, Danny did have me prepared for college swimming.,” Williams said. “While I do feel that the intensity of college swimming is significantly higher, Danny did a great job preparing me for college swimming with his high volume of practices.” Along with experience, Paly provided some amazing memories for Williams that he still yearns for today. “One thing I miss so much is the outdoor pool we have at Paly,” he said. “Here in the Northeast, it is rare to see the sun sometimes during the summer and it just makes me miss our outdoor pool.”

Lulu Gaither ‘21

Pitzer Water Polo


ulu Gaither worked extremely hard throughout her high school career both in academics and in the pool on her water polo team. This landed her the opportunity to continue her work ethic and talents in college at Pitzer. Gaither loved her time on the Paly water polo team but finds the Pitzer team to be much more tight knit. “We are together all the time because we are on the same team so we have to be, but also by choice, these girls are my best friends,” Gaither said. Gaither spends a significant increase

of her daily life in the pool with her team, but also works hard to balance her life. “From practice, to games, to other events, and schoolwork it’s definitely harder to balance, but I think I am a lot better at navigating day to day life than when I was in high school,” Gaither said. Gaither is also extremely grateful for all the joy that college athletics has brought her. “The team is obviously super close and that has given us some amazing memories from team dinners, team mixers, and most importantly, winning nationals,” Gaither said. From her roots at Paly, Gaither continues to express immese gratefulness

towards her her former teammates and coaches, in particular, head coach Deke Rowell, who still holds the position today. “Deke was so important to our team and teaching how to be an effective and supportive teammate, I use the lessons I learn from him every single day and I am so grateful,” Gaither said.

Zander Darby ‘21


UC Santa Barbara Baseball

ollowing his life long passion, Zander Darby (‘21), continues his impressive baseball career at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Playing baseball at such an elite institution offers a different set of pace as well as a different work ethic. “The amount of work that I put in at Santa Barbara is so much more than at Paly,” Darby said. “I worked out a ton when I was playing at Paly, but we weren’t able to get on the field and use the facilities at Paly nearly as much.” Although the physical and academic workload is difficult Darby is certain that h e is gaining important values for his life. “ T h e b a l ance y o u need as a D 1 a t h -

lete in a rigorous major is incredibly dif- player comes nostalgia for his roots. ficult and requires lots of thought and “I miss team dinners and kangaroo energy,” he said. “Once you can master court the most from Paly baseball,” Darhow to effectively balance your lifestyle, by said. “We would all go out to dinner you will be able to apply it for the rest of every week and have a blast together.” your life.” What comes with those memories And what comes with gratefulness and hard work comes with fol“Once you can master appreciation high reward. Darby has lows “I would say created some of the how to effectively balance that my coaches most amazing friends your lifestyle, you will be at Paly prepared and is eternally grateful me well for colfor the friendships base- able to apply it for the rest lege baseball beball has gifted him with. cause they taught of your life.” “The team chemistry me how to work - Zander Darby at UCSB is a lot stronger hard and be a and we are a lot more good teammate,” connected. We get to live with each oth- Darby said. er and spend so much more time togethIn 2023, Darby was named as an Big er to build connections with one anoth- West Academic All-Conference honoree, er,” Darby explains. and finished the season with 0.288 averDarby has loved his time at UCSB, and age. his top two memories are winning the Darby plans to play two more seasons Big West Championship in 2022 and of baseball while majoring in Statistics anytime he gets to surf. And with all the and Data Science. joy that comes with being a D1 baseball@vikingsportsmag | OCTOBER 2023 | 33

Siena Brewster ‘19 San Jose State Beach Volleyball


iena Brewster graduated from Paly in 2019, and she attended Missouri State University for one year, where she played beach volleyball. After the 2019-2020 school year, she transferred to San Jose State University. Brewster gave some advice on the process of transferring. “I think that everyone’s story going into the transfer portal and coming out of it is different,” Brewster said. “I think the most important part of deciding where you want to go is making sure it falls in line with what you want for your upcoming journey. Although things may change, listen to yourself and trust your decision for yourself”.

At SJSU, Brewster has shined on the beach volleyball team. Although she played regular indoor volleyball at Paly, she now likes beach volleyball a lot more. “Playing beach now is so different and I would say it’s like high school volleyball on steroids,” Brewster said. “So the part of my heart that holds my love for volleyball is still filled”. Brewster said that the commitment of college volleyball is more like a job. Additionally, Brewster said that she enjoys the high standard of being a collegiate athlete. “What I love about college volleyball is the continuing opportunity to learn and grow as an athlete and person,” Brewster said. “As well as the community and friendships it has brought to my life that

“[It] inspired me to create the first ever Black student athletic association here at [SJSU].” - Siena Brewster

will last a lifetime.” SJSU beach v o l leyball h a s a new coaching staff and a fairly new roster, and Brewster is looking forward to developing a new team culture. Additionally, Brewster said her favorite memory of college sports was attending the Black student athlete summit. “It truly changed my life and inspired me to create the first ever Black student athlete association here at the school,” Brewster said.

Joshua Kasevich ‘19


Oregon/Toronto Blue Jays

oshua Kasevich graduated from Paly in 2019, and after attending the University of Oregon for 3 years, he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays as the 60th overall pick in the 2022 draft. Kasevich is in his second year of pro-baseball. He now plays for the Dunedin Blue Jays, the Toronto Blue Jays single-A affiliate, and hopes to climb up to the major leagues. “I’m looking forward to being able to count baseball as my job,” Kasevich said. “That is a childhood dream on its own, and it’s pretty special to live that out”. Kasevich said his favorite memory of Paly baseball was beating Los Gatos twice in the league championship his

junior and senior year. In addition, Kasevich noted some key differences between high school and college baseball. “College baseball is a lot more physical. Players are all bigger and stronger, and the game is played with a lot more attention to detail”, Kasevich said. “It also taught me how to grow up and how to manage my time.” At the University of Oregon, Kasevich was named to the First-Team All-Pac-12 Conference, and the Second-Team ABCA/Rawlings All-West Region. His senior year, he batted for 0.310, had seven home runs, 44 RBI and 52 runs scored. Kasevich also added some advice for anyone hoping to play college or professional baseball. “Take every day as an opportunity to better yourself and better your skill set”, Kasevich said.


In the 2022 Minor League Season, Kasebich batted 0.262, and in 2023 he is batting 0.284 and already has four home runs and has 50 RBI and 64 runs. As Kasevich plays in the minor leagues, he hopes to one day play in the Major Leagues. While it may take a few years, he is determined to make it to the big leagues.

Hillary Studdert ‘23

Stanford XC/Track and Field


fter leaving her forever legacy on the Paly Cross Country and Track and Field team, Hillary Studdert continues to strengthen her abilities across El Camino at Stanford University. Studdert stresses how grateful she is for the opportunities that Paly provided her with in order for her to succeed academically and athletically. “I was able to take really cool classes, as well as have top tier coaches that dedicated so much of their time in order for me to succeed, so for that reason I am forever indebted to Paly” Studdert explains. Studdert is beginning her first year at Stanford and is just getting started on her new pathway. “I love the team here at Stanford” Studdert said. “The people here are super passionate about running but they also know how

to make a team, a real team.” Studdert is loving team chemistry and working on finding a healthy balance”, Studdert said. “The classes here are obviously top notch, so I obviously have to spend a lot more time studying and preparing for my classes. I honestly find college classes much easier to manage because most of the classes that I am taking are classes that I am genuinely interested in.” Studdert continues to appreciate everything Stanford has given her.

“They have given me the best friends, the best coaches, and the best academics. My favorite memory with my team so far was when we all went to the Flume concert together at Red Rocks it really solidified our friendships together,” Studdert said. Studdert looks forward to the 2023 cross coutry season, where she hopes to have an immediate impact on the team. For the track season, Studdert plans to race in the 800 and 1600 meter races.

Colin Giffen ‘20

Rice Football


fter graduating in 2020, Giffen at- transferred from CSM and is on tended the University of Nevada the current 2023-2024 roster. Las Vegas and walked onto the “It’s been a long and difficult football team. After a year at UNLV, he journey but I couldn’t be happitransferred to College of San Mateo er to be here at Rice,” Giffen said. where he played foot“The education is ball for two years. the most important, During his time at and being able to get “I knew CSM, Giffen developed it from a top 10 univeras a football player. As sity because of football was a result of his developa blessing.” going to pay off.” isAs ment, his football abilia freshman at Rice, ty caused him to be reGiffen is excited for the - Colin Giffen cruited by D1 schools. future of his college “Being at San Mateo football career. for two years was good for me,” Giffen “This journey has taken longer than I said. “It allowed me to get to where I expected but I knew all the hard work needed to be mentally and physically to was going to pay off,” Giffen said. be able to play at the next level.” Due to a red-shirt at UNLV, Giffen has In May of this year, Giffen announced four more years of eligibility. While Giffhis commitment to Rice University. He en is contributing to the team mostly on

all the hard work

special teams right now, he hopes to eventually become contributer to the offense. Giffen recorded a tackle against South Florida and has appeared in every game this season.

@vikingsportsmag | OCTOBER 2023 | 35

The Science



“I recommend working out at least 3 times a week, but every day for a short amount of time is better.” -Ava Iribarren '24


Muscle is built when fibers tear under exertion. The body then heals these fibers and the muscle comes back stronger and increases in size. Let’s see what Paly students know about building muscle and what their experience with building muscle is!

“So basically when you lift weights, you’re tearing your muscle fibers, then after when you rest and eat properly, they’ll grow back bigger and stronger." -Milo Sabina '25

“When you work out it breaks down the muscle cells or fibers. You can then eat a lot of protein to build them back up and you come back stronger. You gotta train your body by pushing yourself.” -Ori Cohen '24

“I do a lot of exercises to try and build muscle. Especially with my legs for sports. Doing it on a weekly basis helps me perform better at sports and is empowering.” -Charlotte Barclay '26

@vikingsportsmag | OCTOBER 2023 | 37

Filming Races,




The first episode of “One Ship” — a student-produced docu-series chronicling the boys Swim and Dive team’s journey to their second CCS title — premiered after a summer of waiting to an eager reception from the team and fans.


JJ Stoen ‘23 races backstroke at CCS. Photo by Grace Gormley.

Henry Gibbs ‘23 dives in for a relay. Photo by Grace Gormley.


n September, an important milestone was reached for the Paly and dive community. The first episode of a docu-series covering the boys team’s 2023 season was released after the wait over summer. The documentary follows the boy’s team’s journey to another championship in CCS — the second ever in program history — after the incredible first win in 2022. Varsity swimmers Alex Ng (Class of 2024) and Ethan Chien (Class of 2023) are the co-producers and creators of the docu-series. They spent hours interviewing their teammates and coach, Danny Dye, collecting footage to use in the series and countless hours editing — a process that is still underway. Ng edits the episodes and organizes the hours of footage. “We have around 600 gigabytes of raw footage,” Ng said. “We go through all the interviews [and transcribe them] so I can just search on a doc for what I want to find.” The documentary is a love letter to the team, incorporating clips showcasing the team’s strong friendships and the growth of the individuals on the team. The title of the documentary, “One Ship,” is both a nod to Paly’s cheer of “one ship, ‘sko Vikes” as well as a description of the Paly swim team. The team is

incredibly close, bonded after many long practices each day, and united in the common goal of winning CCS. “Originally, we wanted to film and capture the win of our second CCS title,” Ng said. “But after filming it, I feel like it’s more important to show the little moments and the fun we have as a team.” Senior Brooke Hudacek, a member of the girls varsity team, felt the impact of this team unity throughout the season. “It’s just awesome to be able to see your teammates, who have put in a lot of hard work and dedication, be able to succeed, as well as for us to be there and be able to cheer them on,” Hudacek said. “It’s just a really great feeling.” Athletes can recall Chien and Ng continually filming, with Chien following his teammates around to capture fun moments and Ng swimming across the bottom of the pool taking underwater footage. “That’s where the title of the channel comes from (Put the Camera Down) — we would always joke that we didn’t want to be filmed when we were tired after a long set or looking bald in our swim caps, but in reality it was pretty fun to have them around,” Hudacek said.

“It was

really amazing

what they were able to do.” - Brooke Hudacek ‘24

Hudacek notes how the filming of the documentary heightened the energy and helped the team put 110% into training and in meets. “In some ways, it brought up the energy of the boys team,” Hudacek said. “Obviously, they always had the goal of going to CCS and winning it. But I think the fact that they were filming a documentary about them winning CCS gave them that extra push and it was really fun to see their energy.” The first episode is the only one that has aired so far, but Hudacek is already impressed with the work of Chien and Ng. “I thought it was really awesome,” she said. “I didn’t necessarily doubt their abilities, but at the end of the day, it was a bunch of high schoolers putting it together. So I thought it was really amazing what they were able to do, because it is super good.” More episodes will air on the “Put the Camera Down” Youtube channel over the following months.

Coach Dye and the boys team celebrate after earning the 2022 victory at CCS. Photos by Grace Gormley.

The Final Word by GRACE GORMLEY

BREAKING the the BREAKING Friday night games have always been reserved for football. But in the name of equality for all Paly athletes, maybe it’s time to start considering how we can allow other athletes to play in this highly coveted slot.


othing beats the atmosphere of Paly Friday night football. The seniors in their camo, the performances from the cheer and dance teams and the packed stands really bring the night together. It is exactly how a sporting event should feel. But only a tiny percentage of Paly athletes will ever get the privilege of playing in this atmosphere. The majority of Paly athletes will hardly ever see their friends coming out to their games, let alone almost all their peers in the way that the football team does. Senior Beau Revenaugh, who plays football, acknowledges the unique environment.

“I think it’s pretty special,” he said. “I really like it because the whole school comes out and supports us.” Revenaugh values the tradition of football holding the Friday night athletics slot. So do many others: a rotating schedule for sports on Friday nights is, as far as my research tells me, next-tonever considered. The vast majority of discussion surrounding Friday night high school athletics are requesting that the NFL and college leagues don’t have games on Friday in order to protect high school football’s slot. “Friday Night Lights as a whole is a pretty special American tradition,” Revenaugh said. “It’s something that’s always been done.” This is true, and there is

something to be said about the value and joy of tradition. However, there is no rule that the team under those Friday Night Lights needs to be football. We 100% should still support our football team, but as of now, p r e t t y much every other Paly sports team is comparatively neglected, unfairly so. There are so many other incredible sports at Paly along with football. Our girls volleyball team is another fall sport, with an incredible team, impressive gameplay, and plenty of seating in the gym. Water polo features talented players, fast-paced play, and the whole pool deck to watch. Field Hockey plays under the lights on the lacrosse field, and is such a fun event to watch.

“I really like it because the whole school comes out and supports us.” - Beau Revenaugh ‘24

@vikingsportsmag | OCTOBER 2023 | 41

There is the technicality that many sports don’t have facilities that support large audiences. The soccer and lacrosse field has only two sets of small bleachers, and the pool deck is the same. But still, many sports don’t get big audiences when they physically could; volleyball is a prime example, playing in the large gym. Another large hurdle would be the scheduling; to move around Paly’s game schedules, all of SCVAL would need to collaborate and agree on this momentous change. But just as it seemed impossible to have an equal number of male and female sports teams following Title IX, the b i g g e s t changes are the ones with the biggest impact. Other sports are just as enjoyable to watch. In August, the world record for the highest attendance of a women’s sport event was broken as 92,003 fans crowd-

ed the stands to see the Nebraska volleyball team beat Omaha 3-0. Thousands of fans went out to support their volleyball players and enjoyed a sporting event, in the same way that football is always enjoyed. There is also the question of equity; I leave the reader to consider if it is fair to female athletes at Paly that the Friday night slot is reserved for a predominantly male team, and that that is the team which gets the support and admiration from the school population. The atmosphere that football experiences is never given to other sports, and sophomore Fallon Porter on the girls varsity water polo team believes that it would bring a lot to her team’s play. “Knowing all the hype that goes into the football games, it would be so awesome if that happened in one of our games,” she said. “Because it doesn’t really happen.”

“Knowing all the hype that goes into the football games, it would be so awesome if that happened in one of our games.” - Fallon Porter ‘26

Pre s ident of the Paly Student Athletic Leadership Team (SALT), junior Lydia Mitz supports this idea. “A lot of athletes are putting a lot of time and a lot of energy into practicing every week,” she said. “It’s just really discouraging when people don’t show up at their games.” Paly SALT is dedicated to helping other sports gain more attention and increasing the attendance of their games. “We try to support all sports at Paly because some sports are going to attract more people -- like people always want to go to baseball and football,” Mitz said. “But that doesn’t mean that, for example, the softball games aren’t important.” By supporting all sports, SALT helps promote all Paly athletes. “We try to promote those games so that the softball players can have a lot of fun playing in front of a crowd and the viewers can have a lot of fun watching those games,” she said. All sports deserve support, not just football. Despite the seemingly insurmountable challenge of making this change, we must start considering — more than fifty years after Title IX — how we can start supporting not just our female athletes, but all our athletes more equally.

Decked out in USA gear, Paly students display their phone flashlights at the Homecoming Game. Photo by Jason Hu.


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