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April 2013 Volume VI Issue 5

THE BEST THERE NEVER WERE Every year elite Palo Alto athletes choose to attend different schools, leaving Paly to wonder:



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LINE UP Volume 6 Issue 5 April 2013 4



KICKOFF From the editors News brief First and 10 10 questions

with Oliver Wang (‘13)

By the numbers



Pop culture grid Hot or not Inside the mind of Marie Ezran (‘13)

NFL preview


photo by Grant Shorin


Viking tries by AMI DREZ

Last word

More than just a game by JONNY GLAZIER

East v. west by JAMES HARRISON

The great debate by ROHIT RAMKUMAR and JONNY GLAZIER

THE BRICK Mason Haverstock (‘13) returns a volley to a Los Gatos Wildcat. The Vikings swept Gatos 7-0 March 28.


Profile on varsity golf captain Grant Raffel (‘13). by AUDREY DeBRUINE



Fun facts about badminton with a brief profile on seniors Gavin Chan and Oliver Wang.



TRACK AND FIELD INSIGHTS A response from the jumping team after the demolition its jumping pits.




Insight on Paly’s jumping team and the return of coach Tolu Wusu.




Reviewing the elite athletes who played sports at other schools instead of at Paly. by JOSH STERN



Eric Redwood (‘13), Nelson Perla-Ward (‘15), and Camille Zelinger (‘14). photograph by PAUL BIENAIMÉ

APRIL 2013

ZOOM JUST BREATHE Bo Field (‘15) comes up for air during the varsity 500-yard freestyle race against Los Gatos. The boys’ team went on to win 121-65. photo by Tara Lawrence

ZOOM FRESHMAN EXPRESS Maya Benatar (‘16) sprints by a Sequoia defender in her first varisty game April 11. Paly romped the Ravens, 18-1. photo by Paul Bienaimé

ZOOM GOT HE-EM! Varsity singles player George He (‘13) returns a serve. He won his match in straight sets to help the Vikings top Los Gatos 7-0 on March 13. photo by Grant Shorin

Editors-in-Chief Kevin Dukovic Alan Lamarque Nora Rosati Managing Editors Charlotte Biffar Colin Patterson Austin Poore Sammy Solomon Design Editors Michelle Friedlander Nina Kelty Photo Editors Scotty Bara Grant Shorin Columnist Jonny Glazier Video Editor Annie Susco Business Managers Hilda Huang Michael Strong Staff Paul Bienaimé Audrey DeBruine Ami Drez Jordan Gans James Harrison Tara Lawrence Niall Patrick Pippa Raffel Rohit Ramkumar Zach Rizk Julia Saul Chris Smith Josh Stern Staff Adviser Ellen Austin, MJE

The Viking Palo Alto High School 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301 650-329-3837 Email contact: Advertising and Sponsorship Contact:

10 | T H E V I K I N G |

Dear readers, We hope your spring is far from a-pollen and that your fourth and final quarter is not showered with work. In this issue of The Viking, we highlight the obstacles faced for track and field jumpers as well as the opportunities gained with the addition of Olympic-hopeful coach Tolu Wusu in “Track and Field Insights” starting on page 32. Our cover story, “What if?” (p. 38), explores what Paly athletics could have been without the loss of elite athletes. In addition, the underappreciated sport of badminton and key player Gaven Chan are featured on page 22. Take a look inside the mind of Paly “athlete” and bracketologist Marie Ezran on page 16, as well as a peak into the life of Paly’s own bodybuilding gym teacher, Jason Fung on page 15. Magazine aside, we would like to sincerely thank our readership for giving us the opportunity to explore sports journalism while building a staff of dedicated and talented students who will carry The Viking in the year to come. After a four-week selection process and a year of close observation, we are proud to have chosen what we feel to be a passionate, skilled leadership staff for the up-

Letter from the editors coming year. We would like to congratulate new Editorsin-chief Pippa Raffel and Josh Stern, as well as the rest of the new leadership staff on their tremendous accomplishments. Like a 65 percent dark chocolate Ghirardelli bar, our parting is bittersweet. We are so grateful for the support of our advisor, Ellen Austin, as well as that of the Paly community. Thank you again for your readership.

Sincerely yours, Kevin Dukovic Alan Lamarque Nora Rosati

News brief | Water polo coaches depart


oth the Paly girls’ and boys’ water polo “We are hoping that our Harbaugh-esque rivalry will teams lost members of their coaching staffs help promote both programs and we plan to focus the this month. Boys’ assistant coach Matt extra media attention on our players and try to get them Johnson and girls’ head coach Spencer in the spotlight as much as we can,” M. Johnson wrote in Dornin will not be returning as for the up- an email to The Viking. coming fall season. Dornin, the girls’ coach, is leaving Johnson, who served as the Palo Alto for Dallas, Texas now that “When I heard that Matt his wife has finished her medical boys’ junior varsity coach and assistant varsity coach to his residency at Stanford University. was leaving, I was twin brother Brandon Johnson, Dornin coached the girls for two will assume head coaching duobviously devastated.” years. ties at his alma mater Gunn “It’s painful to see [Dornin] leave, - Ethan Look High School. especially since we’ve worked with “When I heard that Matt was him for two years now and we’ve leaving, I was obviously devastated,” water polo player become really close together as a team with him,” girls’ Ethan Look (‘14) said. “He’s a great guy. He has a lot of water polo player Emma Wolfe (‘14) said. [water polo] knowledge, so my initial reaction when I Both teams look forward to moving on next seaheard that he was going over to Gunn was that we’re los- son and coping with the loss of experienced members of their coaching staffs. ing such a great coach.” M. Johnson is excited about the heightened rivalry “Hopefully we’ll be able to get a good coach,” Wolfe that will ensue next season as he coaches against his twin said. “I think our future is looking bright, especially beand his team’s crosstown rival. cause we have so many people coming back to play.” <<<

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Staff view | Coaches should not abuse power


ecently, Rutgers University men’s basketball coach Mike Rice was fired for his excessive and brutal treatment of his players, as seen from practice footage that dominated SportsCenter last month. He mentally and physically abused his players, whether it was pushing them or yelling homophobic slurs and throwing basketballs at them. This incident at Rutgers has brought national attention to the philosophies of coaches around the country. We, The Viking, believe it is time for many coaches to update their coaching styles; it is important for players to feel comfortable and safe and have their complaints taken into account. Fred Harris, one of Rice’s players from the 2007-08 season, seemed to hate Rice as a player, but afterwards, he seem to praise Rice for his coaching efforts. “I didn’t like him all the time I was there,” Fred Harris said in an interview with the New York Times. “But once I left, I really learned and appreciated what he taught me.” Although this is somewhat of an extreme case, it is a good opportunity to analyze the power coaches have over the lives of their players. Coaches can motivate and inspire or they can discourage and hurt their players. But what makes coaches good or bad? Where is the line drawn between constructive and destructive criticism? Where is that point where a coach has pushed his player too far? Like many things in life, it is important for coaches to balance their

harsh and gentile critiques. If a coach is hesitant in telling his or her players the truth, the team cannot improve, but if a coach is too harsh, it can be discouraging and hurtful to the players. Good coaches take the time to balance their critiques with compliments for their players. All coaches should get to know their players well and treat each one with individual and team needs in mind. A coach must know each and every one of his players’ personalities well enough to increase the effectiveness of his coaching. For more aggressive players, a coach may need to yell more, while those a little more timid may prefer a one-on-one conversation. A screaming coach’s behavior is not excused by nice and sweet assistant coaches or more level behavior after game time. More than anything, coaches must learn how to best treat their players in order for them to feel comfortable and perform at the best possible level. Currently, there is no anonymous feedback outlet for coaches. Often, players are afraid that if they complain, they will get in trouble or receive less playing time. But coaches, like everyone else, need some sort of feedback to improve their performance. Paly can facilitate this by having an anonymous comment box in the office, and the administration can further investigate any complaints about coaches. Showing coaches that they are not free to do whatever they want could potentially be beneficial

Letters to the editor The 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. The 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.

in the future. Recently, this lack of feedback in the collegiate ranks has led to some horrible behavior being swept under the rug. It took weeks for Rice to be fired for his behavior, and years earlier, administrators at Penn State knew of Jerry Sandusky’s actions towards young boys but failed to take sufficient action. Obviously the actions of these men are not acceptable, but with better communication with their coaches or the authorities, players will protect themselves. Sports should be fun, and more than anything safe. As role models, coaches have a lot of power over their players, whether it be constructive or destructive. However, it is important to remember than it is not all about what the players learn in a season, but how they learn it. Coaches can yell, if it is an appropriate time or place, such as an inspiring pep talk or to yell across the field, however coaches should only reprimand the rowdy kids who need the yelling to focus and are not offended by it. Sports are such an influential part of our society because they have a transformative power; sports teach important skills that can reflect in our society. Coaches should take advantage of this and teach their players appropriate ways to behave outside of sports. In places of power, people should always think and act responsibly and take into consideration the possible results of their actions. <<<

Advertising in The 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 The Viking, please contact the The Viking by e-mail at vikingeds or call 650-329-3837 for more information. Printing Services The Viking is printed six times a year by Fricke-Parks Press in Fremont, Calif.

APRIL 2013



This spring, Buster Posey and Justin Verlander became the latest baseball players to sign long-term contracts with their ballclubs.But is it really a good idea to sign players for nearly a decade when the future is so hard to predict? by AUSTIN POORE

MONEY MAKER Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander just cashed in on his recent success with an enormous new contract. The agreement, good for seven years, makes Verlander the most expensive pitcher in the game but will run past his 37th birthday.


ight in the middle of March Madness, news quietly broke regarding two of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) marquee players: Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander and Giants’ catcher Buster Posey each signed record-setting long-term deals with their respective teams. Posey signed a nine-year, $167 million deal, the longest contract in Giants history, while Verlander’s new contract, which makes him baseball’s most expensive pitcher, is good for seven years and $180 million. These deals are evidence of a trend that’s becoming more and more common in the MLB. Baseball clubs are increasingly going the way of the National Hockey League (NHL) and signing star players to lucrative long-term contracts that secure star players through (and often past) their primes. The question for general managers has become whether the benefit of locking up these superstars now will be worth the salary the players will command

12 | T H E V I K I N G |

years down the road. Despite their increasing popularity, I generally oppose these extreme long-term contracts. The future is unpredictable, and agreeing to pay tens of millions of dollars to athletes eight to 10 years down the road based on current production seems crazy (I’m looking at you, A-Rod). Even so, not all of these contracts are created equal, with some being even crazier than others. The Posey signing seems reasonable, if only for one simple factor: age. Posey is only 26 years old, so his new contract with the Giants lasts only until he turns 35. While a drop in production in his mid-30s is certainly likely, especially since Posey plays catcher, a position that has already threatened his durability (Posey missed the majority of the 2011 season after a collision at home plate resulted in a broken ankle), the contract ensures that the Giants will benefit from all of Posey’s production in the prime of his career without forcing them to pay a massive salary as Posey ages into

w w w. v i k i n g s p o r t s m a g . c o m

the twilight of his career. Verlander’s contract is riskier, given that Detroit’s horse is already 30 years old. His contract will run through age 37. However, I still believe the Verlander signing will turn out well for the Tigers despite the fact that his production may decline as he gets older. Verlander, arguably the most dominant pitcher in baseball over the last few years, has proven himself quite durable, and the Tigers have shown that they have the talent to win a World Series with their current personnel. Though the length of the deal may mean a couple lesser years from Verlander on the back-end of his contract, it seems a small price to pay for the services of the dominant ace in the near future, and a legitimate shot at a World Series title. Posey and Verlander’s new contracts resemble a similar free-agent signing from the previous year, Albert Pujols’ 10-year, $240 million agreement with the Angels, which to me seems like borderline insanity. Sure, Pujols is a great hitter. However, he was also 32 years old in the first year of the contract, and will be 42 by the time it expires. It’s likely that Pujols’ best years are already behind him, and while he will certainly remain productive for several more years, it is unlikely that he will be able to perform up to the level of his contract for the full 10 years. In fact, I think the Angels will be lucky to get five “elite” years out of Pujols at this point, and will be kicking themselves eight, nine and 10 years down the road when they are still paying him millions. Based on the precedents set by these and other recent “mega deals,” it appears that increasingly fat, guaranteed salaries are becoming the norm for superstar free agents. I’m not saying teams should avoid them entirely, because despite the risks, the value of securing a homegrown prospect like Posey can validate some increased spending. Rather, teams should do themselves a favor and save the huge contracts for younger players like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Posey who should be able to produce for years to come. Just ask the Yankees about Alex Rodriguez’s contract and see whether they recommend 10 year agreements with 30-something year old sluggers. Spoiler alert: they probably don’t. <<<

 




The “Muelly”

The “Baby Boomer”

Grilled Pastrami, Swiss cheese, Mustard, Mayo and Onion on Light Rye. (One time I heard Andrew Dice Clay say Muelly on TV, then my Daddy turned it off)




High St.


dairy store

Tuna Melt with Jalapenos. (No, don’t call me baby. My Daddy doesn’t even call me baby anymore.)

Peninsula Creamery

(650) 323-3175 900 High Street Palo Alto

10Questions with

Oliver Wang

as told to Annie Susco

The Viking asked Paly badminton star Oliver Wang (‘13) 10 questions about himself and then asked the same questions to his teammate Gavin Chan (‘13), friend Michael Wang (‘13) and badminton coach Wesley Hsieh to see who knows Oliver best.

Oliver Wang

Varsity badminton player When my racket flew onto another court


Gavin Chan Teammate

Most embarrassing He lost to an eight year-old badminton moment?

Michael Wang

Wesley Hsieh

Losing (anyone, anytime)

Losing to someone he shouldn’t




Favorite dessert?


Ice cream

Ice cream


Favorite sport to watch?




Arcsaber 10

Favorite badminton racket?

Arcsaber 10

Arcsaber 10

Arcsaber 10

Not going to prom

Dream prom date?

A small Asian lady

Definitely me

Someone on the team

Lin Dan


Lin Dan

Lin Dan

Lin Dan


Favorite color?




Don’t have one

Best friend?



Gavin Chan

Anything crosscourt

Favorite badminton shot?




The team

Miss most about Paly next year?

Small Asian ladies


The people and badminton




Images taken from

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Jason Fung The Viking sat with Paly’s most popular bodybuilder, coach Jason Fung, and dicussed his life as Paly’s vaunted P.E. teacher, track coach and weight room guru. As told to Zach Rizk Photos courtesy of Jason Fung

Fung: I had a buddy who owned a nutrition store [that I worked for] and our staff thought that was something we should aim for, to try something different [bodybuilding]. We all got started in 2004. Z: Have you participated in any large, state-wide meets? F: A lot of the ones I do are mostly amateur stuff. My last one actually qualified me to compete at the professional level.

photo taken by Zach Rizk

Zach: When did you first start getting into bodybuilding?

“cONSISTENCY. bE CONSISTENT IN WHAT YOU DO, AND DEFINITELY KEEP ON TOP OF YOUR GOALS” Z: Did you have any goals back when you started? How far have you seen yourself come since you began? F: It was one of those things that was like a hobby, it gave a little more meaning to working out. I wasn’t competing in sports anymore, so it [bodybuilding] gave me more meaning to the weight room. It had an end goal. It gave me something to strive for. Z: Do you have a greater passion for football (as a JV coach) or body building? F: My passion right now is health and all that stuff. I’m into getting kids interested in weightlifting, knowing that it ends itself out. Weightlifting is a good focus of mine, it’s a good part of my life. Z: What’s your key to success?

STRAIGHT FLEXING Fung poses for the camera at a recent body build- F: Consistency. Be consistent in ing competition with the N.P.C. what you do, and to definitely (National Physique Committee). keep on top of your goals.

By the numbers: With coach Fung


Number of pounds Fung can squat.


Number of pounds Fung can bench.


Number of times Fung can bench 225 pounds in one set.


Number of competitive meets in which Fung has participated. APRIL 2013

Inside the mind of Marie Ezran reer

ca letic


d I joine ore year, n was o phom y ack so ience and I e then, and r t n .I hlet xper O reat e a strong at me injuries y g a s m so as it wa m. I w ded due to o it slowed a e t e l s n , e rd me the hu ack season on a hurdle ter to do so y tr d af ping o later m cussion trip bit.I decide olf, I also d g e n l o s, itt got a c abilities a l ok up tenni ly I’ve been o c t i t recent . athle ts so I e r r o o p m s ing other ga and e rollerblad o y e som som doing

r ou



for is th Nut \d Nu worl elicious e most ella divin d. I te a n d e bag lla els, at it eve beautif e, ul fo crep ryda anyt od in es, y: w hin this I can g. It’s banana ith wa f pret s fl not , e just s, br ty m liv prov e withou uch an on the s ead, ed m p t. o y ath It has d bsessio oon, e n letic abili finitely i that mties.




” I don’t care if yo u think I’m not a n athlete . I play sp or athletic a ts and do ctivities. O ously I a m an ath bvilete; it’s like s ay not equa ing 2+2 does l4 an athlete . I don’t think is has to pla someone who y a Paly sp have to b e really s ort or tro But I’m s trong too ng. !!! Don’t doubt th e un people th derdog. The at you le ast expect a re going to win. My haters a re my motiv ators. O

On your pas

as told to NORA ROSATI

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r March Madne

u On yo



ic I joined the March to r nio se 40 of ry Madness group win up d de en I d an e, jok guys as a ce. I think they ning 200 dollars in first pla e I didn’t watch a were pretty pissed becaus n’t even know single basketball game. I do teams. I a single player on any of the dy for guess all I can say is I’m rea next year. Bring it on. athletes’ strug On an gle W

ith s every sport comes injur y, that’s pretty much true for every athlete and I’m quite the exam ple for that. When it wa s track it was a concussio n on the hurdle, in 8th grade P.E. I broke my collarb one in the soccer unit. When it was roller blading last weekend I ate it on the concrete. When I started running I got shin splin ts and that just ended m y running career.

The Pop Culture Grid W H AT D O P A LY AT H L E T E S S AY ?

Nick Sullivan (‘14) Track & field

Serena Yee (‘13) Diving

Jack Paladin (‘14) Tennis

Anna Rizza (‘13) Softball

Skyler Anderson (‘13) Lacrosse

Favorite thing about warm weather?

Spring sports


Going to the pool


Prom will be...




Super fun









Something I need to get

Best spring sport to watch?



Sandals or sneakers?



I think “Vine” is...



HOT We besleeve!


Ice Cream

Images taken from

Paly golf

The Paly golf team has yet to lose a match this season as of April 17. If the Vikes can finish the season hot, this may finally be the year they capture the league tournament championship (to take place in early May) that has eluded them since 2003.

The Golden State Warriors have clinched their first playoff berth since 2007, and their second in 19 years. Stephen Curry will lead the 6-seeded Warriors against a Danilo Gallinari-less Denver Nuggets team (seeded third) that has cooled off in recent weeks and appears vulnerable. Even if the Warriors can’t pull off the upset, one thing’s for sure: This series—featuring two explosive offenses (both teams average over 100 points per game)—will prove to be extremely entertaining.


Ducking violations?

In the pits

The Paly track and field team has to last its entire season without long jump or triple jump pits due to the construction of Hod Ray Field’s new bleachers. The team can no longer hold home meets and the jumpers have nowhere to practice. Although the pits were scheduled to open March 1, they will not be completed until next year.

The Oregon Ducks are under investigation for a substantial violation that reportedly occurred during Chip Kelly’s tenure. However, Kelly—former Ducks coach and now head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles—cannot be punished anymore by the NCAA. Kelly isn’t the first high profile college football coach to leave during a similar investigation—Seahawks coach Pete Carroll left USC just before the program was stripped of a national title because of recruiting violations that occurred under Carroll.





photo by Ami Drez


U J N’


Viking staff member Ami Drez went to Rockin’ Jump, a trampoline park


in San Carlos, for some trampoline fun

t was a Saturday afternoon as Viking staff member Ami Drez drove out to Rockin’ Jump, a trampoline park in San Carlos. Upon her arrival, after about a 20-minute drive, Drez was required to sign an electronic waiver via the four computers provided. After filling out the waiver, Rockin’ Jump charged her $12 for one hour. Once she entered the park, Drez flashed back to her childhood. However, she was no longer in fourth grade and found herself among a much younger crowd. To Drez’s surprise, the area was bigger than

expected and included a food stand with typical American junk food, as well as some tables and chairs. As it was quite crowded downstairs, Drez discovered a lounge area upstairs. The lounge featured a large couch with three TVs, one of which was monitoring the jumping areas. Upon entering the jumping area, Drez discovered that there were in fact four large jumping areas, each offering a different activity. Tapping into her inner child, Drez was excited and overwhelmed, not knowing where to begin. Starting at the regular trampoline area,

Drez was surprised by the large 50 yards of trampoline provided. However, on a Saturday afternoon it was very crowded and Drez was much larger than her eight and nine year-old counterparts. Thus, she entered the “advanced jumpers” area where there were others more her size. After jumping around for a bit, Drez noticed some kids doing flips and roundoffs. They made it look easy, so Drez thought it would be a piece of cake and attempted a flip. Looking like a pathetic high schooler and landing on her back, Drez was clearly not an “advanced jumper” next to kids who were obviouly more experienced. Deciding she didn’t quite make the cut, she moved on to the next activity. However, a Rockin’ Jump staffer told her that she was not allowed to wear her own socks while jumping. Despite finding it a little bit weird that they would not allow her to wear socks, Drez did as she was told and took hers off. Moving onto the next area, Drezdecided to try out the trampoline basketball court. It was not much of a court, offering only two hoops with enough trampoline under for one person. After waiting in line, it was Drez’s turn to shoot, so once she received the ball, she took a couple of large jumps and reached for the rim to throw down a dunk. However, after a few shots it became too repetitive, as the hoop was not high at all, despite the fact that there was a trampoline under it. It could have been a lot more fun if they actually offered a full court, but as it was, the hoop was just average, and not up to The Viking’s expectations. Photo by Ami Drez


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The next activity was the foam pit, with three lanes where people could run and jump into a large pit full of foam (see picture above). Readying to jump into the foam, Drez took three large jumps, landing far and deep in the foam. However, being so far from initial jump point, it was a struggle for Drez to get out of the pit and she became claustrophobic. Surrounded by foam, Drez took five minutes to actually get herself out of the pit. And so, after one jump into the foam, Drez was far from done and ready to move on. The last area of Rockin’ Jump consisted of an arena with a continuous game of dodge-

Photo by Ami Drez

1. SLAM DUNK After several bounces, Drez jumps for the hoop to dunk. After a few attempts at the basketball hoop, Drez felt it was too repetitive. 2. LOUNGIN’ Rockin’ Jump provides a lounge area upstairs in which people can realax and watch a game or the jumpers. 3. FOAM PIT OF DOOM Another aspect offered is the foam pit. Although at a glance it does seem fun, once is more than enough.

photo by Ami Drez

Photo courtesy by Tori Destefano


Watch Ami trying out all the Rockin’ Jump activities and having some trampoline fun at:

ball. Jumping into the game, once again she found herself among a much younger crowd. However, there were some children who far more experienced in the game of dodgeball than Drez. After being hit with the ball multiple times, Drez found it was hard to not only dodge the ball coming at her, as the space was limited, but also to get her hands on a ball, as there were not enough to go around. After trying out all sections of the center, an hour had almost passed, which was more than enough to satisfy a nostalgic childhood urge. However, if you do find yourself wanting to jump around, do some flips, shoot some

hoops, get balls thrown at yourself and jump into a claustrophobic mess, then Rockin’ Jump is surely the place to go. All in all, Rockin’ Jump definitely did not live up to The Viking’s expectations. Rockin’ Jump is very similar to a more well-known establishment, “Sky High,” but it is not the same. Despite offering new aspects like the basketball hoop, it is meant to attract a younger crowd for a reason. Although spending a Saturday afternoon at Rockin’ Jump does not sound too appealing to some people, it is what you make of it. A good time is just a good attitude away!<<<

APRIL 2013

NFL draft preview by CHRIS SMITH

1. 2.

SPEED Luke Joeckel (76), Dion Jordan (96) and Geno Smith (12) are three explosive prospects in the 2013 draft. 20 | T H E V I K I N G |

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Kansas City Chiefs:

(OT, Texas A&M)

Joeckel is the best player in this year’s draft because of his physical play and quickness. He should be able to protect Alex Smith’s blind side for years to come.

Jacksonville Jaguars:


Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah has unlimited potential and a defensive coordinator in Gus Bradley who can develop his raw skills into a superstar.


Oakland Raiders:


Philadelphia Eagles:


Detroit Lions:


Cleveland Browns:


Arizona Cardinals:


Buffalo Bills:


New York Jets:

(DT, Utah)

Lotulelei is a beast on the defensive line and should boost a Raiders’ run defense that allowed 118 rushing yards per game last season.

(CB, Alabama)

The Eagles released of their both starting cornerbacks from last season (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha) and Milliner is the best cornerback available.

(DE, Oregon)

The Lions need a replacement for DE/OLB Cliff Avril and more talent on the defensive side of the ball. Jordan can provide both.

(DT, Florida)

Floyd can provide a needed boost to the Browns’ pass rush and can make this defense hard to beat.

(OT, Central Michigan)

The Cardinals allowed 3.6 sacks per game (worst in the NFL), causing quarterbacks John Skelton and Kevin Kolb to run for their lives during most of the season. If Carson Palmer is going to have any success on his new team, the Cardinals need to upgrade their offensive line, and it starts with Fisher.

(QB, West Virginia)

The Bills just signed Kevin Kolb in free agency, but he is only a band-aid for the Bills’ quarterback problems. Smith has the talent to be the long-term solution for the Bills.

(OG, Alabama)

The Jets were 27th in the NFL in sacks allowed per game (2.9), and with no quarterback worth taking, a stud like Warmack will be an instant upgrade for an ailing offensive line.

10. Tennessee Titans:

(CB, Florida State)

The Titans were 25th in the league with 247.3 passing yards allowed per game. Rhodes, a big, physical cornerback, will provide an instant upgrade.

Outlook for San Fransicso 49ers Team needs: Safety, DT/DE, TE, CB The 49ers are coming off a disappointing loss in Super Bowl XLVII to the Baltimore Ravens and are hungry to make another deep postseason run. The 49ers already have one of the most complete teams in the NFL and have a lot of flexibility with a league high 13 draft picks to add additional young talent to the already deep depth chart. The Niners are built around strong defensive play, but with major issues in the secondary in the playoffs last year, the Niners signed cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to help replace all-pro safety Dashon Goldson, who signed with Tampa Bay this offseason.

Draft projections:

1st Round (31st overall): Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama; Matt Elam, Safety, Florida; Jonathan Cyprien, Safety, FIU 2nd Round (34th overall): Eric Reid, Safety, LSU; Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State; Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee; Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford 2nd Round (61st overall): Gavin Escobar, TE, SDSU; Bennie Logan DT, LSU

Key offseason additions:

Glenn Dorsey (DT) will help, but they need another young player All-pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha Colt McCoy (QB) from the Browns will likely back up franchise quarterback Colin Kaepernick Anquan Boldin (WR) acquired from the Ravens adds a threat to replace Randy Moss and instantly improves the passing attack Phil Dawson (K) was acquired from the Browns to replace former all-pro kicker David Akers

Key offseason losses:

Randy â&#x20AC;&#x153;the Freakâ&#x20AC;? Moss (WR) was released Delanie Walker to the Titans in free agency Isaac Sopoaga (DT) and Ricky Jean-Francois (DE) in free agency Alex Smith (QB) to Kansas City Chiefs via trade Dashon Goldson (S) signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers David Akers (K) ws released

RUN IT 49ers franchise quarterback Colin Kaepernick rushes into the end zone during Super Bowl XLVII. With one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, the 49ers look to make another run in 2014.

Outlook for Oakland Raiders

Team needs: Everything

The Raiders are looking to rebuild their roster after a disappointing 4-12 record last season. Unlike the Niners across the Bay, the Raiders have limited draft picks to work with and have huge concerns on both sides of the ball. General manager Reggie McKenzie has made several offseason moves, including signing quarterback Matt Flynn from the Seattle Seahawks. With Flynn looking to be the Raiders franchise quarterback moving forward, Oakland will still need to look for a solid backup in the draft. Terrelle Pryor has had many off the field issues and is not the answer for the Raiders, while Matt Leinart is over the hill. The Raiders will have to address their offensive line issues in the draft. The lack of talent in the trenches has limited the rushing attack of all-pro running back Darren Mcfadden and fullback Marcel Reece. McKenzie will also need to rebuild the Raiders defense with a focus on rush defense, secondary and defensive line.

Key offseason additions:

Matt Flynn looks to provide a spark for the Raiders at quarterback Cornerback Tracy Porter looks to improve the Raiders secondary if he can stay healthy

Draft projections:

First round (3rd Overall): Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah or Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama No Second round pick (traded to Cincinnati Bengals in 2012 Carson Palmer deal) Third Round (66th Overall): Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee; Matt Scott, QB, Arizona; David Amerson, CB, NC State; Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

Key offseason losses:

Carson Palmer (QB) to Arizona Cardinals in free agency Michael Huff (S) to Baltimore Ravens in free agency

Images taken from

APRIL 2013


Fun Facts

Facts taken from







A shuttle can leave the racket at a speed of almost 186 mph.


Materials The best shuttles are made from the feather of the left wing of a goose.

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The International Badminton Foundation (IBF) has over 150 member nations.

Badminton was admitted as a full medal sport during the XXV Olympics in Barcelona in 1992.



Name Age Year started badminton:

Images taken from

Gavin Chan 18 sixth grade

Oliver Wang 17 ninth grade

There’s more skill than just brute Favorite force strength and there’s a lot of thing about strategy involved. badminton?

Well [at first] I didn’t like much about it; I hated that I was always last.

How have I got faster, tougher to the training you and my mental became improved stronger. since then?

I don’t know, I just played for hundreds of thousands of hours, that’s all.

Everyone goes through the same training; you all suffer together. Your teammates are around your same level but you want to be better than the other guy, you don’t want to be left behind and that pushes you to work harder.

A lot of the sport is mental, so the team aspect is important in that you have to support your teammates and that they’re there cheering you on during the games.

5 Popularity Badminton is the second most popular sport in the world, second to soccer.


History The original name for badminton was shuttlecock.

Best thing about the team?

APRIL 2013

East vs. West

photo courtesy of Chris Rotelli

While lacrosse has been a popular sport throughout the East Coast for many years, the game recently has now started growing rapidly in the West. The balance is now shifting as more athletes are making a name for lacrosse in California. by JAMES HARRISON

CALI-BOUND Chris Rotelli, a former player at Virginia, moved to California to play for the San Francisco Dragons and currently coaches local players who want to play lacrosse in college on the East Coast.


inning three consecutive playoff games by one goal and going on to win the championship in any sport is a tough feat, regardless of level. Doing so in the first season of a team’s existence is even harder. Nevertheless, the Palo Alto boy’s lacrosse team did this just four years ago as Paly’s newest sports team. Many of the players picked up the stick for the first time, while only a select few had played before. Baseball, basketball and football provide our country’s youth with games and competitions throughout each state and almost every child plays one of these sports in their earliest years. These three sports are played at almost every high school and at top universities from the Pacific to the Atlantic. There are currently 211 Division I baseball teams, 350 Division I basketball teams and 238 Division I football teams. Lacrosse is a little different, with only 63 Division I teams. On the East Coast, most high schools, public and private, have established lacrosse programs, while in the West, only a few schools have lacrosse teams. The number of Division I teams shows the big difference between the culture of the sport

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in the separate regions. California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho and Utah combined have zero men’s Division I teams. The farthest teams to the West are Denver University and Air Force Academy in Colorado. On the other hand, there are 53 Division I teams combined in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Vermont. That means that 53 of the 63 total Division I teams exist in the Northeastern states. According to Kris Höglund (‘12), a freshman walk-on at Division III Tufts University, this difference is due to the integration of the sport. “Kids on the East Coast pick lacrosse up from a very young age, the way kids on the West Coast do with baseball or soccer or basketball,” Höglund said. “The sport is ingrained in a lot of the culture out here, and there is a strong tradition of lacrosse. East Coast prep schools were the real start of lacrosse, where schools on the West Coast are still just getting teams, like [Paly’s].” Höglund started playing lacrosse with the Palo Alto Tomahawks, one of the many Bay Area youth club teams that allows players to start before high school. The club was founded

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in 1990 and has had teams ranging from U-9 (players under 9 years of age) to the high school club level. One of the major reasons that the Palo Alto lacrosse team was established was to serve as a higher level competition for these players, mixed in with the competitiveness of Palo Alto sports. Since more high school teams are starting up and the sport is getting more popular, Höglund feels that the playing field will start to level in the future years, with the West producing more top prospects. Jamie Nesbitt, the girls’ varsity coach, agrees with Höglund that lacrosse in the East is much stronger, but asserts that the West is bringing out more athletes which will play a big role in the future of the sport. “One of the major differences between the East and West in terms of lacrosse is the infrastructure supporting the sport,” Nesbitt said. “With the obvious advantage of being established for a longer time back East, there are more opportunities to play and (more importantly) more referees and coaches to support the game.” Nesbitt testifies to the fact that because of a better infrastructure, lacrosse in the East is more physical as well. She says that the interpretation of lacrosse in the West is that the

photo courtesy of Kris Höglund JUMBO Kris Höglund (‘12) is a freshman walk-on at Tufts University in Massachusetts. He started playing for the Palo Alto Tomahawks and played on Paly’s first varsity team in 2010. style of play is slower and fewer programs are competitive. Along with many other former players from the East, Nesbitt believes that this gives the West more potential for expansion. Chris Rotelli, a former University of Virginia player and Tewaaraton (best NCAA lacrosse player) winner, believes that the East is almost at capacity for growth, while everywhere else in the country is gaining ground quickly. “The West has an advantage because we can

from local club teams such as the Tomahawks, but the past few years, there have been a couple players from the East. William Hare (‘14) came to Paly from Princeton, New Jersey, last year as a sophomore and contributed immensely. He moved back to New Jersey for his junior year, but is returning to Paly for his final season. He feels that the difference he has noticed while playing lies in the intensity of the sport. “West Coast lacrosse has been relaxed,” Hare

of getting noticed by a coach is by playing with one of the traveling club teams. These teams have provided many players the opportunity to play at tournaments attended by college coaches in order to gain more exposure. By producing more teams at the top level that can travel and play with the best teams in the East, coaches will start to realize that the West is catching up in skill level and should be a strong region for years to come.

Coast prep schools were the real start of lacrosse, where schools on “East the West Coast are still just getting teams, like [Paly’s], ” Höglund said. play outside year-round,” Rotelli said. “However with the growth of box lacrosse (lacrosse played indoors on a hockey rink covered with turf), East Coast players have just as much access to the game year-round. I anticipate that players will come from all over the country (and Canada), and it will be closely tied to the coaching they receive growing up. You will see players from all over the country continue to come out of the same programs, but those programs will be nationally diverse.” Most of Paly’s lacrosse players have come

said. “East Coast on the other hand is much more serious (in terms of high school lacrosse a least). We have three hour practices after school Monday through Saturday, and sometimes we have to run 2.5 miles before school.” While the West has seemed to be slow to the party in terms of producing top prospects, Höglund, Rotelli and Nesbitt say the future is looking good for players in the West, as more and more athletes are getting recruited at the Division I level. Since there are no Division I universities west of Denver, the highest chance

Some colleges in the West, like USC and Stanford, have talked about getting a Division I team in the next few years, which would be a huge step in bringing the West Coast to the level of the East. These are just rumors, but the fact that these rumors exist gives hope that more colleges and schools will establish teams in the future. While football, basketball and baseball reign over other sports in terms of popularity in the West, look out for the expansion of lacrosse at all levels as it is currently the fastest growing sport in the country. <<<

APRIL 2013

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When it comes to Paly golf captain and four-year varsity veteran Grant “Sonny” Raffel (‘13), there is more than meets the eye. by AUDREY DeBRUINE


photo by Grant Shorin

ver 200. That is how many golf balls Paly golf captain Grant Raffel (‘13) estimates that he has in his bedroom at home. Onehundred six of them are displayed on the walls, one from every course he has ever played including favorites California Golf Club and Eagle Bend. Fifteen are labeled with milestones such as “First Round Under 80” and two holes in one, while still more can be found in boxes, in duffel bags, or scattered around the room. Golf pervades many aspects of Raffel’s life, his physical space being just one of them. To teammate Patrick Fuery (‘14), there is no doubt that Raffel is extremely dedicated to the sport and to the Paly golf team.

“He’s more emotionally invested than anyone else on the team,” Fuery said. “No one spends more time thinking about the team than Raffel. It’s like his life revolves around the thing.” Raffel’s unparalleled devotion to the sport of golf has instilled in him patience, determination and a never-give-up attitude which not only make him a great player and teammate but which carry over into other areas of his life as well. Raffel would likely agree with the assertion that he lives and breathes golf. He has been playing since the age of five and hopes to continue doing so for the next four years as a member of the Williams College golf squad. The sport piqued his interest early and due to its intriguing nature has kept Raffel playing

A DAY ON THE GREEN Grant Raffel (‘13) smokes a drive at Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course. As captain, Raffel has led the Paly golf team to an undefeated 10-0 record so far this season. APRIL 2013

photo courtesy of Liz Raffel

photo by Grant Shorin

aspects but it’s definitely, compared to other sports, much more mental and strategic.” Many of his acquaintances see the deliberate, calculating side of Raffel but fail to realize that beyond this façade is a funny, outspoken person who is quick to share his opinions or crack a joke. “At school everyone thinks that Grant is very

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THE SAND MAN Grant Raffel (‘13) has been playing golf since the age of five and it has been a large part of his life ever since. Raffel has captained the Paly team for two years.

photo by Grant Shorin

He’s never put up with anything from anybody. The guys have a lot of respect for him. - coach Doyle Knight

reserved and quiet, yet at home he is very outgoing,” sister Becca Raffel (‘14) said. This outgoingness is one of the key factors that led Knight to select Raffel as the team’s captain for two years in a row, and which commands the respect of his teammates and peers. “He communicates with me very well,” Knight said. “He’s a little opinionated about certain things, but that’s okay; I like hearing the players’ point of views and stuff, and he does that, and that’s what I feel like a captain needs to do. He needs to support his players but at the same time support me so I think he does a good job.” Raffel projects self-assuredness and has impressed Knight since his first year on the team. “When he was a freshman, we had a senior that was constantly picking on him and Grant would not back down,” Knight said. “Grant would just give it right back at him and that’s the way Grant’s been the whole time. He’s never put up with anything from anybody ... The guys have a lot of respect for him.” Teammates see Raffel as one who is always able to keep a level head, contributing to the respect they have for their team captain. “[He is] cool, calm, and collected,” Fuery said. “One does not baffle the Raffel.” <<<

photo courtesy of Liz Raffel

His poise and resilience are on display when Raffel takes to the green; Paly golf coach Doyle Knight believes one of Raffel’s strong skills is his course management and ability to adapt to changing conditions. “I think [golf]fits me really well because I’m kind of a patient, more thinking-type person and golf is definitely a game of strategy and a mental game,” Raffel said. “It has the physical

photo courtesy of Liz Raffel

day after day, year after year. “I think you just can’t have a more interesting sport than golf,” Raffel said. “I’ve played thousands of rounds, and it’s never the same situation twice. It’s always something new; you’re never going to hit the same shot twice. It’s such a challenge and a grind and I think there are definitely high highs and lows lows but because it’s such a tough game it’s very rewarding to do well.” Despite Raffel’s personal love for the sport, he feels it “gets an extremely bad rap,” completely undeservedly, from those who do not play it. However, Raffel does not let this get to him and treats golf ’s haters as motivators. “I think people just watch golf or hear about it and they’re like, ‘Oh, there’s no running or physical contact involved, it shouldn’t be a sport, it’s too easy,’ but then when they go try to play it themselves they can’t even make contact with the ball,” Raffel said. “I think they like to attack golf out of, I guess, maybe jealousy, because they wish they could be cool enough to play golf.” Besides being a cool guy, Raffel believes his personality is a perfect match for the sport of golf, a grueling mental battle which requires complete focus at every step of the match.

APRIL 2013

Diving deep by JORDAN GANS and HILDA HUANG photography by Hilda Huang

The Viking digs deep to find the future of Paly diving: two promising freshmen, Reed Merritt (‘16) and Mimi Lin (‘16), who have bright careers ahead of them.


ew sports have a lower performance to training time ratio than diving; an Olympic repertoire typically lasts no more than a minute or two, a high school six-dive list no more than 30 seconds. That hasn’t deterred divers Reed Merritt (‘16) and Mimi Lin (‘16) from training 14 hours per week, hurling themselves at water with speeds up to 35 miles per hour and practicing drills on dry land by way of trampolines,

springboards and many, many mats. Now both ranked nationally, Merritt and Lin have outgrown their gymnastics roots due to injury, having used their natural abilities to augment their skills in their new diving careers. Senior Cole Plambeck (‘13) says that much of the divers’ success can be attributed to their gymnastics background. Merritt and Lin are currently key competitors on the Palo Alto varsity diving squad. They also continue to compete and dive for the Stanford club div-

ing team and had been diving for the club for many years before going to Paly. Teammate Plambeck is on both Paly and the Stanford Diving club with the freshmen. “They are both excellent divers and will make an impact all four years of their Paly careers,” Plambeck (‘13) said. Plambeck is committed to dive at Duke University and was selected to attend the Junior Elite Squad (JES), the first step in being selected to the U.S. Olympic team. He knows

MID AIR Reed Merrit (‘16) flips and pikes off the high dive. Reed spends over 14 hours a week practicing. 30 | T H E V I K I N G |

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SKY DIVING Reed Merritt (‘16) practices his dives at Stanford University.

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invaluable focus and maturity, according to their coach Ryan Wallace. “They’re both very talented and tenacious divers,” Wallace said. “Reed always wants to get back in and do another dive, and Mimi’s a real perfectionist. But, they’re still kids.” Still only freshmen and competing in the 14-15 age group nationally, they have a bright future ahead. Lin hopes for a career in college diving by way of a diving scholarship, while Merritt looks further to the Olympics. So every time they smack at practice, it’s not the time to wallow but to get back up and dive again, albeit with at least a touch of enthusiasm and optimism. With the strength and support of their Stanford teammates, they have risen to great heights, only to jump back down again. From the board to the water, Merritt and Lin transform into precise flying machines, culminating hours of training with the concentrated “pop” of the best rip entries. After hours of training, that “pop” will last less that half of a second. <<<

ways come easily. “Through diving I’ve learned to be very resilient when something doesn’t go my way, through all the days where I’ve had a terrible practice or when I screw up on my best dive on my meet,” he said. Lin agreed and expanded on the struggles. “[It’s] the hardest part about diving,” Lin said. “You just have to suck it up and do the dive again regardless of how much it hurts both mentally and physically, and regardless of how scared you are.” Their perseverance and dedication to the sport have seen them through rough practices, allowing them to move through Stanford club diving’s ranks faster than most other divers. Not only did they come pre-packaged with the toe-point, flexibility and physical and mental strength of gymnastics, they both possess

what it takes to compete and succeed at the highest level of the sport. Plambeck believes that the two divers should strive to become the best in the sport and set goals “to place in CCS and become All Americans, because they both have the potential.” Both Merritt and Lin are on the right track to reach elite level, and both have had success with Stanford at national competitions. In 2012, Merritt won the Las Vegas Invite and helped Stanford diving win the Las Vegas Invite and in 2011 Lin won the Summer Age Group National Championships in Knoxville, Tenn. (12-13 platform). Too often given a lame reputation at Paly, diving is nothing less than an intense feat. “Diving requires a lot more strength than lots of people think, physically and mentally,” Merritt said. “I don’t know many people who have the balls to jump off a 35-foot platform, doing 2 1/2 flips before you hit the water on your head.” Merritt is one of the few who does, though he notes that it doesn’t al-

GOLD Anonymous (1) Palo Alto Weekly Palo Alto Medical Foundation Astor Gift and Home Michael Strong and Family SILVER Stutors Anonymous (1) BRONZE Laura Kenney and Bill Sundstrom Portola Kitchen APRIL 2013

Life under the sand by PAUL BIENAIMÉ

photo by Grant Shorin

This season, after renovations to Paly’s football field, new bleachers have taken over the jumping pits which has had an impact on the 2013 track and field season.

DOWN THE ROAD The sight from a jumper’s eyes at Gunn High School’s jumping pit, a vision no longer avaivable for the long and triple jumpers at the Palo Alto High School track. 32 | T H E V I K I N G |

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This year, the Paly administration decided to renovate the Paly football field and track. The plan includes larger bathrooms and an improved snack shack, along with new bleachers and eventually a new track. In the midst of the construction project, the jumping pits have been removed, and will not be rebuilt until the summer. Without the pits, the team is left disappointed and unable to practice to its fullest potential. Captain Pippa Raffel (‘14) became concerned about the opportunities her team would have to practice and proceeded to talk to the girls’ track and field assistant coach Paul Jones. “[Jones] doesn’t think the school will pay for a construction crew to build bleachers and a jumping pit at the same time,” Raffel said. “[This is] simply because we’re getting a new track during the summer and that the administration wants to do it all at once.” For jumpers, the track restoration has brought nothing but disappointment and inconvenience. The athletes practice their jumping technique and form on the regular track, but lack the pits that enable the full timing experience to foreshadow their performance during meets. “You can do all of the form work and plyometrics here, but we didn’t have the opportunity to practice landings and the whole timing all together and actually being able to perform a complete jump and landing into an actual sandpit,” Comey said. “That definitely hurt our performance.” In order to get the practice it needs, the team treks across town to Gunn High School a few times a week to jump into the Titans’ pits. Tzur is also discontent and discouraged to have no home meets for his last season in a Viking uniform. Tzur believes having no home meets is a changes the team’s mood and enthusiasm. “We haven’t been able to practice as much but we go to Gunn a few times a week to jump into their pits,” Tzur said. “It’s sort of a bummer to have no real home meets this year and a bit of discouragement.” In addition to the difficulties faced at prac-

photo by Paul Bienaimé

“[Saratoga] was the first time jumping into a pit this season for our whole team, it was our first official league meet,” Frankie Comey (‘13) said.

WARM UP Eilon Tzur (‘13) warms up along the track by jump roping every other 100 meters.

photo by Paul Bienaimé


magine playing baseball with no field or water polo with no pool. For the Paly track and field team’s jumpers, this inconvenience became a reality this year. When construction on the new bleachers around the football field hit a snag, Paly’s new jumping pits were not completed in time for the spring season, leaving the athletes without a practice venue. On March 7, Paly’s jumping team lined up behind the pit stretch at Saratoga High School, hoping to perform as expected for their first leap into a sandpit this entire season. The jumps executed at this meet were not just the first competitive jumps of the season; for the Paly athletes, they were the first jumps performed with proper facilities. “From the beginning of the track season until now, we haven’t had any jump pits,” Frankie Comey (‘14) said. “[Saratoga] was the first time jumping into a pit this season for our whole team, at our first official league meet, which was not exactly ideal.”

LEAPS AND BOUNDS Long jumper Frankie Comey (‘14) sprints towrads his practice bounds on the turf field at Paly. tice, the team has had to find alternate locations to host meets. As Tzur said, the team is able to practice jumping into the pits at Gunn, which Comey echoed when asked about the team’s practice situation. “It’s definitely a hassle to have to trek to Gunn to get my jump work in,” Comey said. “The option to go to Gunn and to jump there has helped a lot; it’s pretty crucial to have a pit to jump [into] during practice.” Coach Jones has been with Paly for over two decades and wants his team to have more jumping opportunities than they have been given this season. The students are obligated to drive themselves to Gunn and are only permitted to do so on Mondays and Wednesdays. Jones wanted to minimize the commute for the team and spoke with The Viking about his efforts to have his team practice across the street. “I’m trying to get the jumping team to head over to Stanford and practice,” Jones said. “I’ll be talking to somebody this week, but no promises are made.” For this season’s jumping team, the absence of the pits is just another obstacle to hop over. <<<

“It’s pretty crucial to have a pit to jump [into] during practice,” Frankie Comey (‘13) said.

APRIL 2013

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Hops on Hops on Hops by CHARLOTTE BIFFAR and SAMMY SOLOMON The return of jumping guru Tolu Wusu and his unique approach to athletics have rejuvenated the Paly jump team this year.


RAISING THE BAR Seniors Victor Du (left) and Eilon Tzur (right) led the boys’ Paly jumping team to a 5-0 record this year.

t the start of the spring sports season, most members of the Palo Alto High School track team hit the ground running. However, the Paly jumpers, those track members who participate in the high jump, long jump, and triple jump, could be seen just walking. “So far we’ve barely started jumping this year,” jumper Victor Du (‘13) said at the beginning of the season. The jumping team is going back to basics, learning about running mechanics and movement under the guidance of previous Paly track star and coach, Tolu Wusu (‘04). Wusu, who left his coaching position in 2010 in order to train for the Olympic Trials, has returned to the Paly track. Wusu was born in the Virgin Islands, but attended Palo Alto High School for three years, earning Paly Athlete of the Year in 2003. At Paly, he was a member of the football, wrestling and track & field teams, earning six Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) awards and setting the triple jump record of 47’2’’ at the Central Coast Championships (CCS). Following graduation, he attended U.C. Davis, where he represented the Aggies on the track and majored in exercise biology. With the experience of training for the Olympic trials under his belt, Wusu returns to the Paly track with a fresh perspective and seasoned knowledge of the sport. The Paly alum takes an in depth look at the technical side of the sport and the mechanics that make up body movement. “I feel the pieces that make an athlete better are usually on a much smaller scale than we focus on,” Wusu said. Wusu believes that the most important area to focus on is the feet -- an area that is typically overlooked. “Most people don’t pay attention to the feet, but it’s like one percent of your muscles doing 90% of the body’s output, so it would be something that even with a small increase in ability is going to have great gains to the body regardless of your sport,” Wusu said. With injury prevention as one of his main goals, Wusu spends most of practice time teaching the jumpers about body mechanics. “It almost feels like sports medicine class,

which is really cool,” girls’ jumper Pippa Raffel (‘14) said. This approach aims to keep athletes healthy and help them learn to “move the ‘right’ way”. In jumping, sometimes being able to make it through the entire season is half the battle. “You do much better, even if you’re not necessarily the best jumper, if you’re actually able to make it through the season since most jumpers are injured or struggling to compete through the season,” Wusu said. Paly jumpers have suffered from shin splints, heel injuries and pulled hamstrings. Despite these injuries, this tight-knit group has had to run its own practices for the past two years without the guidance of a coach, achieving a notable amount of success. Last spring, Victor Du (‘13) led the team in the high jump with a personal best of 6’5’, just three inches short of the school record. Without specialized instruction during the absence of their coach, the jumpers have grown closer together, as they have had to rely on each other for support, according to Kenny Jones (‘13), one of five seniors who began working with Wusu freshman year. “We are such a small group that we all bring our own leadership to the table and build off each others’ energy,” Jones said. With the return of Wusu to the track, the group of athletes who first began jumping four years ago under Wusu’s guidance, hope to lead the team to accomplish even more in their senior season. “We definitely want to win league and that’s probably going to happen. We also have a bigger goal of winning CCS which is a possibility but we’re going to have to do very well,” Jones said. While the end result is important, Wusu looks inward. “The purpose or direction that we should be taking people into is: how do we get you to your max level,” Wusu said. “My goal is to get them to a position where they feel that they can better maximize their own potential and at the same time jump further.” Wusu’s philosophy emphasizes personal growth and maintaining a healthy body. “[It would be great] if they understood their bodies better because its something they’re going to use for the rest of their life.” <<<

APRIL 2013

Rohit Ramkumar

Jonny Glazier

photo by Grant Shorin

photo by Grant Shorin

Great Debate: Mike Rice

Recently, Rutgers men’s basketball coach, Mike Rice, was fired for his brutal treatment of his players that ranged from intense yelling to throwing chairs at his players.

Did the sports community and the entire nation overreact to the Mike Rice incident or did they react in the right way?


I think that people are overreacting to this whole incident. Keep in mind, I am in no way condoning Mike Rice’s actions. Rather, I believe that the outside world is looking at this as one isolated incident and not taking the whole scope of things into account. The bottom line is that this kind of behavior is unacceptable and in no way can be overlooked. Yelling homophobic slurs at players, striking them and hurling balls at them cannot simply be viewed in such a nonchalant manner. I completely agree on that point but let us be frank and agree that this kind of stuff occurs at countless high schools, colleges, and professional sports programs across the country and around the world. The fact is that we have not heard about it yet. I think that people are living in their own perfect world and think that this kind of stuff does not and should not happen when it definitely does. That’s exactly the problem. Players who view it as acceptable for coaches to abuse them since they’re simply looking out for the good of the team, are allowing these horrifying acts to continue to occur across the nation. The point is that the reaction is not completely justified. Rice has become the scapegoat in the situation when in reality, this kind of behavior occurs all over the country. It just so happens that Rice was caught in the middle of this. The response is absolutely justified. It’s a simple case of an individual in a position of great power abusing their power to a sickening extent. What makes this even worse is that the victims of this abuse of power were college athletes, who were bound by scholarships to play for this man for four years. This situation is perfect, since we need to make an example out of Mike Rice, showing coaches across the face of the earth that abusing their power and abusing players is not alright. Once again, instead of going all crazy over this one situation, we need to take a broader view and educate coaches on better methods to motivate players. Some of the things that Rice did like pushing players and swearing occur at any sporting level, even at Paly. Even some former players have come back and said that they look back on their careers at Rutgers and appreciate what Rice did for them. I find it hard to believe that any former player of Rice would appreciate what he did. I don’t think that any person in their right mind would find any hint of appreciation for how Rice attempted to “motivate” his team. And his motivation didn’t seem to work, seeing as Rutgers had a 29-35 record under Rice. Well the point is that they did that clearly alludes to the fact that many of the “victims” in this situation do not believe that they were victimized at all. They were on board with Rice’s actions and that just goes to show that his behavior should not be blown out of proportion. The school initially only gave Rice a three game suspension which means that it did not see his actions as egregious enough to be fired over. Only after the video went viral was he looked at in a much worse light.

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An investigative look at premier athletes from Palo Alto who chose to play elsewhere. by JOSH STERN

BEST THERE NEVER WERE Eric Redwood (Serra ‘13), Nelson PerlaWard (Sacred Heart ‘15) and Camille Zellinger (Sacred Heart ‘14) are just some of the notable athletes who live in the Paly district but chose to attend different schools.


f you ask basketball phenom E.J. Floreal (Laurence Dunbar ‘13) what he misses about Palo Alto, he’ll tell you about the Paly-Gunn crosstown rivalry: green and white versus red and black. The two schools exist in close proximity and relish clashing in a competitive environment. This kind of high-intensity rivalry game is something that Floreal holds close to his heart. Thinking he would finish his high school career as a Viking, Floreal learned at the end of his junior year that he would wear red and black for the entirety of his senior basketball season, not for Gunn but for his new school in Lexington, Ky. Floreal, along with many other Palo Alto natives, chose to leave the Palo Alto area to attend other schools over Paly. Of course, the impact these players may have made if they had chosen to become or remain Vikings is difficult to quantify. However, the most notable athletes that left Palo Alto’s sports programs went on to star at other schools in their respective sports. Many have now committed to play their sports at Division I and Division III colleges

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1. CONCENTRATION Will Conner (Sacred Heart ‘15) looks for an open teammate for Paly last year. 2. GAME TIME Camille Zellinger (Sacred Heart ‘14) takes a shot on goal during a game for Sacred Heart Preparatory. 3. TEAM PLAYER Nelson Perla-Ward (Sacred Heart ‘15) smiles after assisting a teammate’s goal while playing for Palo Alto.

photo courtesy of Camile Zellinger


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who is also] the team’s top scorer, you lose a lot there,” Sax said. Without its supposed strongest player, the basketball team still had an impressive 23-1 regular season record this year. After surprisingly topping an already impressive preceding season, the team improved by making large changes. “[The team] adjusted and ended up sharing the ball, everyone had to play together as a unit, and to not rely on one guy like we had been doing, so it kind of gelled us too,” Sax said. “The chemistry was outstanding. We were willing to make the extra pass, and they knew that they had to do it as a collective group.” The choices made by impact players of Floreal’s caliber to leave Paly, however, are generally more enigmatic than his. Paly has captured various titles in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) and Central Coast Section (CCS) and even earned a few California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) State

1 photo courtesy of Paly Voice/Aaron Chum

real said. “I thought it would be easier to move with him rather than just see him every once in a while.” Without its star player, the Paly basketball team faced the prospect of an uncertain season. The departure of the team’s star player left questions to whether or not his former team could fill the void left behind on both ends of the floor. “I think that [the team] was shocked because they were all friends with him; they got along with him,” Palo Alto boys’ basketball head coach Adam Sax said. “But they had to move forward, and they knew as a group in November that it was going to be a challenge.” Without question, Floreal’s move was tough for the basketball team. The squad had to figure out a way to replace its most dominant player and needed a new dynamic to manage the upcoming season “Every time you lose a guy who averages about 15 points a game and 11 rebounds [and


photo by Grant Shorin

across the country, leaving the question as to how they could have benefited many of the teams at Paly. His junior season, Floreal shone on the courts, averaging 14.3 points per game and helping the Vikings record a successful 21-5 season. Only losing four total seniors, the team looked like it would enjoy even more success the following year with a number of impact players, including Floreal, returning. But just before the 2012-13 school year began, Floreal announced his plans to move to Paul Laurence Dunbar high school in Kentucky after his father, Edrick, accepted the head track and field coaching position at the University of Kentucky. Despite his new job, however, Edrick offered his son the chance to stay at Paly for his senior season but E.J. declined. “I really didn’t want to do that because there are a lot of people that don’t have dads in their life anyway, and I’m blessed to have mine,” Flo-

Familar faces Eric Redwood Football

Junipero Serra Year: 2013 Position: Running back

Khalil Johnson Basketball & track

St. Francis Year: 2013 Position: Guard

Freddy Avis Baseball

Menlo School Year: 2012 Position: Pitcher

Camille Zelinger Water polo

Sacred Heart Preparatory Year: 2014 Position: Utility

Championships. Two years ago, the Paly football and volleyball teams each won Division I State Championships, while the Paly baseball team won the Division I CCS Championship. Upon asking these athletes, a common thread emerged: It was generally not anything expressly negative about Paly that caused the athletes to transfer or enroll at other high schools. Rather, most can attribute the switch to educational reasons, personal connections with sports teams, recruiting and a variety of other factors. Many of these athletes have made names not only for themselves, but also contributed greatly to their schools, which include Sacred Heart Preparatory, the Menlo School, St. Francis, Bellarmine, Archbishop Mitty and many others. The differences between Paly and other Bay Area private schools proved to be very substantial for each of the athletes. Out of all the players interviewed, most athletes claimed to have thought of academics above all else, knowing that the chances of moving on play-

Will Conner Water polo

Khalid Johnson Basketball & track

Sacred Heart Preparatory Year: 2015 Position: Driver

Amanda Lovely Basketball

Nelson Perla-Ward Water polo

Sacred Heart Preparatory Year: 2015 Position: Driver

Archbishop Mitty Year: 2012 Position: Forward

ing and playing collegiate sports was very slim. However, the level of competitiveness drove them to look for schools that not only met their educational needs, but also that benefited them athletically. These differences, however, may have hampered some of Paly’s success in the past few years. Players who chose to move to schools that play Paly in the regular season, have not only helped their teams but they have directly hurt Paly.

St. Francis Year: 2013 Position: Point Guard

coach. In 2012, Avis, a member of the baseball team at Menlo, was elected Baseball Player of the Year by the San Mateo Daily Journal. A standout pitcher and effective hitter who recorded 76 strikeouts and a .469 batting average his senior year, Avis was one of the premier players in the country and earned a scholarship to play at Stanford University. Avis had attended Paly as a freshman and made the varsity team under coach Donny Kadokawa, for whom he had played as a child. During both Avis and Kadokawa’s first year at Paly, Kadokawa was called under question by the parents of an individual baseball player who had quit the team because of Kadokawa’s “inappropriate” coaching methods. The parents met with the Paly administration and suggested that Kadokawa be disciplined for violating school standards, according to Palo Alto Online. After the season, Kadokawa was let go from the head coaching spot, despite many players

I would say that if Sacred Heart “ didn’t have a water polo team, I probably would not have transferred. ” - Nelson Perla-Ward


ne notable player whose motivations were unique relative to other athletes is Freddy Avis (Menlo ‘12), who chose to transfer to Menlo School as a sophomore due in part to frustration with the Paly athletic program’s handling of a decision to hire a new baseball

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coming to his defense. A more detailed account of the Kadokawa incident can be found in The Viking’s Volume II Issue VI feature “Finding the Strike Zone” by Peter Johnson. Avis decided to play through his entire freshman year, but decided to leave Paly the next year, largely due to his firing. “He’s a wonderful coach, probably one of the best baseball instructors in the area and I

ment director Earl Hansen said. “You don’t plan that. You don’t want that.” Avis felt that the athletic administration had dealt with the coaching situation position poorly and believed a consistent coaching staff was needed in order to build momentum for the struggling program. To add to the predicament, several parents of various players had involved themselves in wanting to get rid of the

pitchers in the state, Avis would have boosted what became a successful baseball program in Palo Alto. While the athletic administration predicament was major enough to drive Avis away, Hansen disagrees with his overall motivation. “I would never have my child leave a school that he was in because of the coaching situation when you have a top academic school in

I was disappointed in the way that Donny was just kind of “kicked out of the system without have been given a chance.” - Freddy Avis thought that Paly had a great opportunity in hiring Donny,” Avis said. “I was the only freshman on the team so I really couldn’t speak up against the administration. I was disappointed in the way that Donny was just kind of kicked out of the system without having been given a chance.” During Avis’ time at Paly, the athletic administration had difficulty in obtaining a long term coach. Over the previous four years before Avis joined, four different coaches had managed the team and Paly had been unsuccessful in several of those seasons. “Most of [the switching of coaches] was a matter of circumstances,” Paly athletic depart-

past coaches. “It’s really hard as a player to have a new coach every single year,” Avis said. “Also, the way the parents intervened in the decision to fire Donny was, I think was unjustified. In the end, you’re not going to find the perfect coach. The perfect coach doesn’t exist. It was very unfair, to the players and Donny, to fire the coach after one year.” Upon hearing Avis’ reasons, Hansen thought it was a shame for any athlete at the high school level to be motivated to leave due to a problematic situation brought on by the athletic administration. One of the most sought-after

Isn’t she Lovely?

senior stats

Palo Alto native Amanda Lovely (Mitty ‘12) chose to attend Archbishop Mitty in San Jose, Calif. over Palo Alto High School. Making the move thinking that Mitty would benefit her with its community, religious background and high caliber basketball program, Lovely greatly contributed to the team’s success and earned a spot on the Pepperdine University women’s varsity team.

points per game


1.0 blocks per game steals per game 1.3 2.5 assists per game rebounds per game 9.9 295 total points

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this area,” Hansen said. “I don’t know him but he probably would have been fine at either place because he’s a smart kid.” Regardless, Avis was not the only athlete from Paly whose decision was partially brought on from difficulty with coaches. ast year, the Vikings boys’ water polo team lost Nelson Perla-Ward (Sacred Heart ‘15), one of its starters and top scorers with 60 goals, his motivations partially arising from the water polo team’s 2011-2012 head coach, Giovanni Napolitano. At the end of the season, Napolitano and the team separated as parents and coaches clashed. The players and parents disagreed with Napolitano’s coaching style and on his coaching methods and principles. The disgruntled complaints from the water polo community then resulted in the “departure” of Napolitano from Paly and into the arms of MenloAtherton High. “Prior to me leaving, the entire water polo coaching staff got fired and the water polo program seemed to be going downhill,” Perla-Ward said. “It was like playing on a team that wasn’t as organized because the coaching and the players seemed like they needed a more structured practice.” With a nebulous near future, the coachless water polo team brought in Matt and Brandon Johnson, two Gunn alumni who went on to play for the UC Irvine team. Under the brothers, the Vikings improved to a 19-8-0 record, advancing to the semifinals of the CCS playoffs. The team lost to Bellarmine Preparatory, a highly prestigious team. Had impact players such as Perla-Ward stayed, it is easy to imagine that the game may have had a different outcome. Avis and Perla-Ward’s experiences were unlike many other potential Vikings, as they looked for a program that had more stability. Other athletes, including Perla-Ward, looked for programs that shine in their particular


sport and who attract more recruiting attention than Paly. This year, past Paly water polo starter Will Conner (Sacred Heart ‘15) accompanied PerlaWard to Sacred Heart, looking for a better opportunity to get recruited for college. He and Perla-Ward, both impact players for the team, left for the competitive Sacred Heart program where they hoped to be trained and to grow into collegiate level players. One of the most successful teams in CCS, Sacred Heart’s water polo team has stood out in its already successful athletic department and has helped shape the careers of a number of water polo players. In 2012 alone, four of the nine players on the Mercury News’ first team CCS water polo team were from Sacred Heart. Perla-Ward switched schools in the winter, while Conner waited until he completed the school year. At Sacred Heart, Conner chose to repeat his sophomore year, giving him an extra year at the school. His choice to switch schools was mostly based off of the success of the team and the advantages that Sacred Heart offered “recruiting-wise.” In an attempt to get recruited by some of the top Division I schools in the country, players such as Perla-Ward and Conner looked for tougher practice environments. Looking back and comparing both teams, both Conner and Perla-Ward felt that their move to Sacred Heart was in fact vastly different from Paly. “At Sacred Heart, it’s a lot more serious while at Paly it’s a lot more fun and more enjoyable,” Conner said. “At Sacred Heart, we have a lot more conditioning and weights, while at Paly it was just more laid back.” Perla-Ward agrees and attests that some of the hardest practices at Paly do not compare to an ordinary day with the Sacred Heart team. “The team is a pretty big commitment,” Perla-Ward agreed. “The first practice I went to at Sacred Heart was harder than any of the hell week practices I had at Paly, putting that into perspective.” With Conner and Perla-Wards’ departures, some of the members of the team felt their team had been greatly affected. Two of their biggest impact players had not only left Paly, but had gone to a school that had dominated boys’ water polo for several years. Both leading scorers at Paly in the last few years and some of the most veteran players on the team, PerlaWard and Conner faced a choice that took a toll on the offensive scheme of the water polo team. Although the team faced various hardships, both players had been students in the PAUSD throughout their childhood, and their friendships and life in Palo Alto made the decision extremely difficult. Both looking to the future, Conner and Perla-Ward felt that colleges would have an easier time seeing them if they

From Palo Alto to the NFL Rhett Ellison Minnesota Vikings Silicon Valley native and current Minnesota Vikings tight end Rhett Ellison chose to attend Saint Francis High School. As a 6’5” 235 lbs high school senior, Ellison had a tremendous high school career and committed to the University of Southern California in 2007. As a Lancer, Ellison received many honors such as Prep Star All-West and San Jose Mercury News AllArea First Team. Ellison redshirted for the 2007 season and continued to play for the Trojans until the 2012 NFL Draft. Taken in the fourth round of the draft, Ellison was picked with fellow Trojan teammate and offensive tackle, Matt Kalil, by Minnesota. Ellison completed his first NFL season with seven receptions and 65 receiving yards.

Jeff Fuller, Jr. Miami Dolphins Son of former 49ers safety and two time Super Bowl champion Jeff Fuller, Jeff Fuller Jr. was born at Stanford hospital. Fuller played basketball all three years at Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto, but moved to Texas just before high school. Fuller discovered his talent in football as a freshman at McKinney Boyd High School in Texas. At 6’5” 202 lbs, he quickly earned a spot on the varsity team and earned recognition from many schools including Oklahoma, Michigan, Texas, Ohio State and Texas A&M as a four-star recruit. After a tough decision between Oklahoma and Texas A&M, Fuller finally decided to sign with the Aggies in College Station. Fuller then went undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft, but eventually signed with the Miami Dolphins as a rookie free agent.

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FLASH OF BRILLIANCE E.J. Floreal (Paul Laurence Dunbar ‘13) competes in a 4 by 100 meter relay last season. Floreal broke Paly’s records for both the 100m (10.52 sec.) and 200m ( 21.16 sec.) dashes.

CHAMPIONS Amanda Lovely (Mitty ‘12) celebrates Archbishop Mitty’s 2012 Division II CIF State Championship. Amanda’s sister Courtney (‘16) started on the Paly girls’ basketball team this season.

MAKING A SPLASH Nelson Perla-Ward (Sacred Heart ‘15) winds up for a shot during a regular season game. Nelson and his older brother Nolan (‘13) are members of the Peruvian national water polo team.

played for a prestigious team such as Sacred Heart. “It was an overall decision with my parents but it seemed like a better decision looking at the [ability to grow as a player]” Perla-Ward said. “It just seemed like the better option concerning the college factor and that going to Sacred Heart would just probably develop my skills and work habits. I guess I would say that if Sacred Heart didn’t have a water polo team, I probably would not have transferred.” Paly teammates, like Kian McHugh (‘14),

and the recruiting process aside, motivations to leave for other schools for many of the athletes are solely based on academics. As a public school, Paly felt overwhelming for some. Smaller private schools with smaller classes that surround the Silicon Valley such as the Menlo School, St. Francis and Sacred Heart attracted student athletes with their smaller student bodies. One of only two freshmen from the 20102011 varsity girls’ water polo team, Camille Zelinger (Sacred Heart ‘14) left Paly for Sacred

nity setting in my classes,” Zelinger said. “Water polo became a bonus because when they heard I wanted to transfer, the team became interested and I think that helped me a little bit.” Upon her visit to shadow at Sacred Heart, Zelinger looked more into the program and met with the head water polo coach. “Once I showed interest in the school, I was introduced by a friend at Sacred Heart to the water polo coach and had a meeting with him,” Zelinger said. “He said he was interested in

felt as if the team had been stripped of some of its best players, as their departure mixed with four graduating seniors from the team as well. “[What was hardest about seeing them go was] just knowing that we could have been the best team in the league and could have easily won CCS, possibly even further had we had Will and Nelson on their team,” McHugh said. “That was probably the hardest part and just how much they took away from our season; we could have been back to back CCS champions for sure. It kind of killed our chances because they were two of our starters and best players. I respect their decision but it was definitely hard on us.” Putting the athletic department’s difficulties

Heart, attributing her leave entirely to academic purposes. “I came from Castilleja which is very small academically, and so I was used to a more intimate setting in classes,” Zelinger said. “I kind of got lost in a lot of the bigger classes [at Paly]. I didn’t have as good of a grasp on the subjects like I did at Castilleja because I wasn’t as connected. It was harder because there were a lot of students in each class.” Eager to find a fitting environment that matched her middle school, Zelinger looked to Sacred Heart. The small Atherton institution with six consecutive CCS championship titles in girls’ water polo most attracted Zelinger. “Sacred Heart offered that smaller commu-

having me on his team.” Like Zelinger, St. Francis basketball player Khalid Johnson (St. Francis ‘13), who was enrolled in the PAUSD until high school, chose his high school due to his family’s belief that it was a better fit and would benefit his overall future. Although he regarded education as his main motivation to switch schools, the Lancers’ team also happened to be a good fit for Johnson and his twin brother Khalil. “[In basketball,] I developed a great relationship with the coaches,” said Khalid. “The education [between Paly and St. Francis] is probably different. Basketball-wise I dont know if I would have liked or had the same relationship with the coaches at Paly like I do at St. Francis.

of got lost in a lot of the bigger classes [at Paly]. I didn’t have “asI kind good of a grasp on the subjects like I did at Castilleja because I wasn’t as connected.” - Camille Zelinger

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BRING THE HEAT Freddy Avis (Menlo ‘12) winds up on the mound, firing a pitch his senior season with Menlo. Avis, now a freshman at Stanford University, pitches for the Cardinal.


I just don’t know if they’d be the same.” hoosing to leave Paly for Junipero Serra High School, a Catholic private school, Eric Redwood (Serra ‘13), who helped lead his team to a 52-35 blowout over Paly this season in CCS, would have been instrumental in Hansen’s run heavy west coast offense. “I had a feeling that Serra would be better off for me, not only is it a Catholic school but the resources there were going to be all around better for me,” Redwood said. “I just felt like it was a better fit.” A Palo Alto native, Redwood played with many of the current members of the Viking football team as a youth member of the Palo Alto Knights. Redwood’s close personal friend and Paly linebacker Erik Anderson thought that Paly could have used Redwood very successfully had he chosen to be a Viking. “If Redwood would have gone to Paly he would have helped tremendously,” Anderson said. “He could have helped add depth to our team which lacked depth this year. Eric and Tolbert would be an awesome pair of running backs to watch.” Redwood’s motivations for leaving Paly were more personal than those of other athletes, as he had family ties to Serra. He and his family thought that the move would be best for his academic and athletic career. “I knew people that went to Serra too,” Redwood said. “My dad went there for a couple years as well, so he knew a few people that worked there from his class. The sense of brotherhood at Serra is really good.” However, the program that would benefit

OFF THE GLASS Khalil Johnson (St. Francis ’13) lays a ball in over his opponent. Khalil and his twin brother Khalid (right) passed up Paly for the Saint Francis, where they also run track.

FLY WITH ME Khalid Johnson (St. Francis ‘13) goes up for a dunk for his Atherton club team, The Roadrunners. A talented track & field athlete as well, Johnson set the St. Francis 100m record (10.61 sec) in 2012.

Redwood at Serra actually affected the Vikings’ playoff drive back in Palo Alto. Serra’s capture of impact players such as Redwood assisted the Padres in important wins over the Vikings. Take the CCS Open Division football playoffs this year. After a successful 8-3 season, the Vikings went into the postseason to face Serra, a team they had never played before.. After an even battle throughout the first half, one of the major problems Paly had was containing the Padres’ run game, led by none other than Eric Redwood. A Palo Alto native like many of the others who left Paly, Redwood and old friends such as Anderson’s experiences playing against each other was more intense than against other teams. “It was tough playing him in CCS; we talked beforehand and mentioned that it was a bad situation because neither of us wanted to put each other out of their senior football season,” Anderson said. “But also neither of us wanted to lose. It was weird that it was the first time ever playing him and it was my last game of football in Palo Alto.” Now, it’s impossible to say how the game would have gone had Redwood been wearing green and white that night. It’s certainly acceptable to admit however, that Redwood’s 288 yards on 31 carries and four total touchdowns contributed to the big win against the Vikings, knocking them out of the playoffs and ending their hopes at recording another championship. It’s also probable that Redwood could have helped Paly’s run game over the past few years, as he drew up over 3,000 rushing yards in his last two years at Serra, recording 37

touchdowns according to This can be applicable to many of the star players that chose to forgo attending Palo Alto High School. For example, if Floreal had stayed at Paly, the boys’ basketball team’s postseason trouble could have been diminished. If the Paly baseball team had Avis on the mound last year, the Vikes might have enjoyed even more success and quite possibly have beaten Valley Christian in the CCS semifinals, where Paly’s season ended. Maybe if Redwood had been on the other side of the line of scrimmage, the Paly football team could have captured another CCS championship. Yet just as other schools have received noteworthy talent from the Palo Alto area, Paly itself has obtained a number of talented new athletes from other schools. One such athlete is Paly’s starting quarterback Keller Chryst (‘14), who moved to Palo Alto from North Carolina last year. Just one year after winning a State Championship in 2010, the Viking football team gained Chryst and Tolbert from out of state after losing numerous starters from the championship team. Making their treks from Weddington, North Carolina and Saline, Mich., the Vikings obtained two major contributors that would help lead them to CCS twice in the subsequent two years. In the end, there will always be those who will wonder what could have been had players like Redwood attended Paly. Yet it seems likely that the additions of players like Chryst and Tolbert balance out the losses. Either way, all the Vikings can do is pick themselves up, adjusting accordingly. <<<

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Columns: The Last Word

When sports transcend athletic competition and become a unifying community event that brings the world closer together.


t was a moment that I hope to wipe clean from my memory someday, but one I’ll never forget. One of those “where were you when...?” type events. As I flipped to CNN, I saw a chilling cloud of smoke rise from streets I knew all too well. Multiple bombs had gone off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Threats of bombings throughout the city were soon reported, sporting events were postponed and normal life in Boston as we knew it came to a screeching halt. Streets that I’d walked through a mere few months ago were bloodsoaked and flooded with paramedics. The city, where cousins, aunts, uncles and brothers of mine lived, was in utter chaos. The marathon quickly took a backseat to the events that were unfolding in the city of Boston, as all concerns turned to the safety and well being of loved ones, rather than who could run 26.2 miles faster. At that point in time, sports and athletic competition were meaningless. Who could possibly care about the outcome of a silly race when a loved one’s safety was at risk? Whether or not one could shoot a ball into a hoop or hit one out of a park became the most influential

thing in the world. As I sat speechless on my California couch, my heart and prayers were with my numerous friends and family members in the Boston area. If the Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox, or whatever Boston team I harbor affiliations for would have ceased to exist on April 15, I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash. But time rolls forward. The clock ticked on and 48 hours later, sports returned to Boston. On a Wednesday night at the TD Ameritrade Garden, the Bruins took the ice in what would be one of the most memorable moments in Boston sports history. First responders, paramedics and firefighters were in attendance as the Bruins took on the Buffalo Sabres. As a Boston Strong logo was displayed on the ice, the national anthem played and players and fans alike came together in a show of unity and strength in the wake of the horrible events that had come to pass a mere two days prior. In awe, I again watched from my couch, absorbing the palpable sense of patriotism and unity that was being sent all the way from Beantown to my television set. In these shining moments, Boston showed how truly meaningful sports can be. While there are undoubtedly times when sports take a backseat to life, Wednesday night’s display

photo by Scotty Bara

More than just a game

by Jonny Glazier

was a testament to how unifying and uplifting athletic competition is, not only to a community, but to an entire nation. Seeing firefighters hand in hand with Boston sports fans revitalized my faith not only in Boston as a community, but in America as a nation of resilient people. As I sat and watched smoke billow from Marathon’s finish line, I felt fear and hopelessness and wondered how people in Boston could carry out their lives normally after such a traumatizing ordeal. However, as I saw Bostonians embrace each other as the national anthem rang out through the Garden, I couldn’t help but feel immense faith in the Bostonian spirit and that the very raw wounds that were left from days earlier were beginning to heal. Many said the game against the Sabres helped Boston forget, but I personally would never hope to forget that moment. Although it may have been just a game, and one that the Bruins lost too, it was a powerful experience. The community with which I have such close ties with was shaken to the core, and while the healing process has just begun in Boston, that shining moment of unity in the Garden is one that I’ll never forget. <<<


Bruins fans rally behind their team in the 2011 Conference Finals at the TD Ameritrade Garden in Boston. The Boston faithful again stood behind the Bruins on Wednesday as they took on the Buffalo Sabres in the wake of the Boston Marathon Bombing.

“Fan Banner” © 2011 Danforth Nicholas,used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license

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PEAK PERFORMANCE CHIROPRACTIC 650-233-7333 325 Sharon Park Dr. Suite B6 Menlo Park, CA 94025

Limited sessions available


NOWBEFORE Senior Year begins, college applications are due, & sport season starts!


2014 June, July & August


the perfect months to schedule are


Non-profit Org. U.S. POSTAGE PAID Permit #44 Palo Alto, CA

The Viking: Volume 6, Issue 5  

Every year elite Palo Alto athletes choose to attend different schools, leaving Paly to wonder: What If?