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BASKETBALL ISSUE February 2013 Volume VI Issue 3

EILON TZUR KELlER CHRYST SCOTTY PEERY

WRESTLING:

“PINNING AT ALL COSTS” p. 24


‘E.J. WHO?’ Seniors Mathias Schmutz, Aubrey Dawkins and Aldis Petriceks are poised to lead the boys’ basketball team deep into the postseason without standout E.J. Floreal who moved to Kentucky.

LINEUP

SENIORITY Stephanie Allen, Josie Butler and Annie Susco never expected their senior seasons to play out the way they did. However, despite injuries to four starters, three quitters and a losing record, the team has grown closer than they ever could have imagined.

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photo by Grant Shorin


February 2013

Volume 6 Issue 3 ZOOMS

4

KICKOFF

10

Staff List

Eilon Tzur (‘13)

Editors-in-Chief Kevin Dukovic Alan Lamarque Nora Rosati

Managing Editors Charlotte Biffar Spencer Drazovich Colin Patterson Austin Poore Sammy Solomon

Staff view Design Editors Nina Kelty Michelle Friedlander

10 questions with Maddy Atwater

INTRODUCTION

Photo Editors Scotty Bara Grant Shorin

15

Inside the mind

of Chris Meredith

Columnist Jonny Glazier

First and 10 Pop Culture

Video Editor Annie Susco

Hot or not

COLUMNS Viking tries

photo by Grant Shorin

Great debate Three things on Spencer’s mind

BASKETBALL

Last word

BOYS STEP UP

PROFILES Jacey Pederson

22

FEATURES 24

WRESTLING Hardships, struggles and rewards highlight Paly’s toughest sport. BY PIPPA RAFFEL

Business Managers Hilda Huang Michael Strong

17

36

Anchored by three steadfast veterans and buoyed by an influx of unexpected upperclassmen talent, the boys’ team is poised to make Paly basketball history. BY AUDREY DeBRUINE & JULIA SAUL

GIRLS REBOUND

40

Following back-to-back CCS titles, the girls’ basketball team has struggled mightly. Despite these setbacks, the team has no regrets and has grown closer than ever. BY AUDREY DeBRUINE

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. 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 @gmail.com 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.

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 Advisor Ellen Austin, MJE Contributers Ben May Chris Skokwoski

The Viking Palo Alto High School 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301 650-329-3837 Email contact: vikingeds@gmail.com Advertising and Sponsorship Contact: vikingads@gmail.com


ZOOM HARD IN THE PAINT Aubrey Dawkins (‘13) charges around a Mountain View Spartan. Dawkins scored 19 points to help guide the Vikings to a 41-30 victory over the Spartans on Jan. 26. photo by Grant Shorin


ZOOM TAKE DOWN Andrew Frick (‘14) battles for position against Gunn’s Harsha Mokkarala (‘13). The Vikings lost 64-18 to cross-town rival Gunn. photo by Scotty Bara


ZOOM ISN’T SHE LOVELY? Courtney Lovely (‘16) drives past two Gunn defenders in a game on Jan. 26 on her way to the basket. The Lady Vikes lost 44-26 to the Titans. photo by Grant Shorin


THE VIKING SPORTS MAGAZINE From the editors Dear readers, The conclusion of Super Bowl XLVII, no matter how controversial, marked the end of football mania for now. With America’s most popular sport on holiday, the sports world will shift its focus to basketball. In fact, millions of sports fans already have. The NBA and college hoops dominate national sports coverage until baseball begins in the spring. But quietly, here at Palo Alto High School basketball history is being made. The boys’ varsity team is off to its best start (23-1) since Houston Rocket Jeremy Lin (‘06)

led the Vikes to a 32-1 record and a state title in 2006. Our cover story (p.36), details the team’s unforeseen success despite the departure of Division I prospect E.J. (‘13) Floreal, arguably Paly’s best basketball player since Lin. Meanwhile, “Bouncing back” (p.40) highlights the varsity girls’ basketball team’s memorable, season-long battle with injuries, inexperience and high expectations. We are also excited to feature “Pinning at all costs” (p.24) on the widely underappreciated and grueling sport of wrestling. Pippa Raffel interviews Paly’s wrestlers to uncover

the misconceptions surrounding the brutality of the sport. Lastly on a lighter note, Raffel and Audrey DeBruine travel back to the ‘80s for the latest groovy installment of Viking Tries: Roller Disco (p.16). This is The Viking’s third issue of the school year. Three more issues will be released before school lets out in May. In the mean time, make sure to keep up with all of Paly’s breaking sports news on our website: www.vikingsportsmag.com. Thank you again for your readership. Enjoy!

Sincerely, Alan, Kevin and Nora

I

Staff view | Player safety

t’s clear the sport of football has a problem when the President, an avid sports fan and enthusiast, says the following: “I’m a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football.” While Obama’s statements were entirely hypothetical, his words reflect a very startling and real trend in not only football, but sports in general. As athletes get bigger, faster and stronger, the level of play rises, resulting in an increase in life-affecting and career-ending injuries. American football embodies this trend. The number and severity of concussions and devastating knee injuries have gone through the roof in the past decade, mainly due to the increase in the size and speed of the players. The NFL reported 162 head injuries in 2011, and we can assume that the actual number of concussions was far higher due to the fact that many players “play through” concussions. When we see players like Alex Smith losing their jobs and having their career potentially ended by disclosing an injury, it’s clear we have a problem. The same can be seen in high school play as there were an estimated 67,000 concussions in high school football last year. The numbers for both professional and high school athletes continue to rise annually and players see this as a serious issue.

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Bernard Pollard, a physical strong safety for the Baltimore Ravens, voiced his concern on a football player’s greatest fear: death on the field. “I hope I’m wrong, but I just believe one day there’s going to be a death that takes place on the field because of the direction we’re going,” Pollard said during an interview with CBS Sports. Pollard may be right. The NFL has done all they can in recent years to avoid such a possibility: They’ve made high-hits of all forms illegal, moved kickoffs up and increased the safety standards of all equipment. However, these rules simply do not and

reel bone crushing hit, players need to want to make the smart and safe form tackle. This change needs to start at the inception of every athlete’s career. The first time an athlete steps onto the playing field, he should be taught how to play the game in the fair, respectful and right way. A similar burden is on the coach’s shoulders. If his players are going for dangerous knockout hits, he needs to sit them down on the bench, rather than praise them for playing “hard-nosed ball.” Paly athletes have experienced seen these violent injuries across all sports. Multiple girls’ basketball players and football players suffered torn Anterior Cruciate Ligaments (ACLs) this last

“We can teach players how to play the game the way it was meant to be played.” cannot protect players from the biggest threat they face: themselves. When players like Pollard have a clean shot on an undersized wide receiver coming across the middle, no gear or threat of a penalty will stop the oncoming hit and resulting injury. And when players can deliver such forceful hits, the only thing the league can do in response to a corpse is a 15yard penalty and a fine or suspension. Change is going to have to come from the bottom, not the top. The very mindset that all players bring onto the field needs a makeover. Rather than wanting to make that highlight-

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year, some of which resulted from their opponents’ suspect plays. How does one prevent, or at the very least, reduce the frequency of these outcomes? Players simply need internalize the mindset that they will play the game the right way, rather than with the desire to star in highlight reels. We can’t stop players from growing and the level of play from rising, but we can teach players how to play the game the way it was meant to be played and hope that, as a result, the number of severe concussions and life-changing injuries will drop dramatically. <<<


Paly on primetime The addition of the MC Sports Program to the Midpeninsula Community Media Center offers a business environment for students to broadcast sporting events.

N

by JAMES HARRISON

one of the six award-winning Paly journalism programs provides the opportunities given by the Midpeninsula Media Center (MC) Sports Program: to allow students to experience professional broadcasting. MC Sports, one of the many programs offered by the Media Center in Palo Alto, was created last May in an attempt to give high schoolers the experience of running a sports broadcasting show. It is an addition to the organization’s local channels and features broadcasts of local high school sporting events. Most Paly students first discovered MC Sports at home football games in the fall. Its van, loaded with all the equipment necessary for television coverage (microphones, cameras, monitors, etc.), could be seen parked in the Churchill lot before each game. Paly Voice editor Grant Raffel (‘13) and InFocus producer Ethan Cohen (‘13) have led the student run program since its inception. The team of six to eight volunteers, made up of cameramen, directors and announcers, covers one sporting event a week. This winter, the van can frequently be spotted outside the Paly gym, where the student volunteers are covering both the girls’ and boys’ varsity basketball teams. The Sports Program primarily covers games at Paly and Gunn High School and occasionally at Menlo and Menlo-Atherton High School. The broadcasts are announced by two commentators and include instant replays. It’s not a live show, instead airing a few days later on the local stations. Chuck Alley is in charge of the program. “The Media Center van is the MC Sports Mobile Production Truck,” Alley said in an email. “It is a complete TV studio on wheels. We show up to local sports events and games and shoot the games live to tape. Then we bring the tape back to the studio and air the game the following Monday evening at 8 p.m.” Although MC Sports is new to Paly athletics, this could be an extremely useful tool when it comes to watching game film and gaining support from around the city. Alley believes that

games will be shown live in the near future so people who can’t make it to the game will still be able to watch their favorite high school teams play. This program also provides an unparalleled opportunity for many students in the Palo Alto community who wish to volunteer and learn about television broadcasting. “A lot of what I learned as a young person, I learned from the Media Center,” Wes Rapaport (‘11), a former InFocus producer, said. “It is a great way to learn about things that you don’t really know about in terms of TV. It is also a really great place to meet people who share my same interest. We all have similar interests and we have fun discussions about TV and media broadcasting.” Raffel seconds Rapaport’s statement by saying that anyone interested in sports or just looking for something to do should think about volunteering for the MC Sports Program. New volunteers get about four to six hours of training and then are put into action.

learn. Alley believes that it is a great way for students to work in a professional broadcasting environment. He also notes that the program is planning to expand its coverage very soon and include other local sporting events such as the Northern California Senior Games, Special Olympics and more. “It all depends on the student volunteers,” Alley said. “This is a student driven and student led program. It also depends on us getting sponsors for the program. We provide free training and all the equipment has been donated by the Media Center right now to launch the program. But we really need local businesses, community leaders and parents to help us fund the program so it is a sustainable program.” One thing’s for sure, the MC Sports Program, and the opportunities it provides high schoolers interested in TV broadcasting, aren’t going anywhere. <<<

photo by Grant Shorin STUDIO ON WHEELS The Media Center Sports van sits in the Churchill parking lot while the student-run crew conducts a live broadcast of a Paly basketball game. The team, made up of six to eight students, covers one high school sporting event each week. FEBRUARY 2013


VIKING ONLINE Visit

EXCLUSIVES www.VIKINGSPORTSMAG.com to read the rest of these stories

Music to my oars by Chris Skokowski Since the first Greek captain found that he could keep his oarsmen in time with a drum, people have worked out to music. Rowing is just one of the many sports where listening to music can benefit your training. Living in the Bay Area rowers have a huge expanse of water to row on and great weather. Compared with the East Coast crew teams we’re lucky: we can row outdoors for most of the year, without being kept inside by frozen rivers for months at a time. However, even West Coast rowers do spend more time training inside during the shorter winter days...

photo by Grant Shorin

Athlete commitments by Jordan Gans National Letter of Intent (NLI), or signing day for football, took place on Feb. 6. With that in mind, many accomplished Paly athletes will be attending signing with colleges for the fall school year. The list of athletes includes Jordan Smith (Cal Poly women’s soccer), Julia Farino (Marquette University women’s lacrosse), Nina Kelty (USC women’s lacrosse), Charlotte Biffar (Cal women’s lacrosse), Cole Plambeck (Duke men’s diving) and Nadya Nee (University of Penn. women’s driving)...

photo by Scotty Bara

Take a ride on the ‘Ski Bus’ by Niall Patrick Eager skiers and snowboarders of all ages ditch their cars and head over to the rainbow-plastered tour bus as they get ready to head up to the mountains. Currently in its 17th year, The Bay Area Ski Bus has brought over 85,000 skiers and snowboarders up to the public ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area. The Ski Bus is managed by Recreation Connection, which provides organizations with a variety of discounted employee programs. Many customers on Yelp have indicated their enjoyment of The Ski Bus and would recommend using it as an efficient form of transportation up to Tahoe. The following video is a combination of highlights and interviews from some Paly skiers and their trips up to the snowy mountains in Tahoe...

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photo by Niall Patrick


Inside the Mind of by JAMES HARRISON photo by Grant Shorin

CHRIS MEREDITH AKA THE “CHR” OF “CHRALALIN”

THE SENIOR MIDFIELDER DISCUSSES HIS SECOND SEMESTER LIFE WITH THE VIKING

On his first year with varsity: “It’s fun. We have a better team this year than last year and we are in a lower league so we are doing much better. We only have one loss in our league and two preseason losses, so that was great. I have a bunch of goals and the team overall is doing [well].”

On his favorite moment this season: “When we won the preseason DeAnza tournament. That was a very good feeling. We went undefeated in the tournament. It was single elimination and we beat Alisal, who was ranked 20th in the nation.”

On Economics with Mr. Bloom: “I love Econ with Bloom. Bloom’s a boss and that is all there is to say. He screws with us, we screw with him and I am learning a lot, too.”

On bromance with Alan Lamarque (‘13) and Colin Patterson (‘13): “It is pretty intense. My friends call us Chralalin because we are always together. When they send mass texts, they only text one of us because they assume we are always together. 99 percent of the time that’s true. I would say we are the closest bros of all time. Ever.”

Who do you like more? “We will decide once they fight to the death MARCH for it.” 2012


FIRST AND 10

LANCE’S LAST RIDE You either die a hero or you see yourself LIVE STRONG enough to become the villain.

LIVING A LIE Former national hero Lance Armstrong rides his bike en route to a seventh consecutive Tour de France title in 2005. Though Armstrong has proven himself to be quite an unsavory character, his founding of the LIVESTRONG foundation remains a commendable achievement.

W

ell, it’s official. Lance Armstrong is a cheater. And what can I say? I’m not surprised. Sure, Armstrong had issued denial after denial about using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) during his cycling career, but the allegations just kept on piling up: Drug tests from the late

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

‘90s that, when tested for research purposes, allegedly contained the PED erythropoietin (EPO), which stimulates red blood cell production, as well as numerous former teammates coming forward with stories about the extensive doping procedures on Armstrong’s teams. A few years ago, I disregarded the ludicrous rumors. Lance Armstrong a doper? Armstrong had never actually failed a drug test, even though he had been tested hundreds of times. Plus, the guy had survived cancer, founded his own

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“Lance-0” ©2012 Sebastian David Tingkær used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license

by AUSTIN POORE

charity, and basically become a national hero. He couldn’t have cheated. It wasn’t possible. Yet as more and more stories kept popping up, and I began to consider their implications, I couldn’t keep the doubts from creeping into my mind. I didn’t want to believe the allegations, but found it increasingly difficult to trust that Armstrong was clean. Why would so many former teammates and acquaintances be testifying against him unless he had cheated? And how else could Armstrong


have been so successful for so long in a sport where so many of his competitors were doping regularly? Though nothing had yet been confirmed, I discovered several years ago that I had joined the “I think Lance Armstrong cheated” camp without even realizing it. So when Armstrong officially admitted to Oprah that he had doped during his string of Tour de France victories, I just shook my head sadly. I may never forgive Lance Armstrong for his deception and treachery, the same way I’ll probably never call myself a Barry Bonds fan. Sure, they were great athletes, but they betrayed the public’s trust and set their records with artificial help. As far as I’m concerned, all PED users should have their records erased. Unfortunately, the consideration of Armstrong’s legacy in particular is far from black and white. It is important to remember that his impact has stretched far beyond the cycling world. After his recovery from testicular cancer in

As far as I’m concerned, all PED users should have their records erased.

1997, Armstrong helped found the Lance Armstrong foundation, now called LIVESTRONG, which helps cancer survivors. According to the LIVESTRONG website, the foundation has raised over $470 million since 1997, 81 percent of which has gone directly to support its “programs and services for survivors.” There is no doubt that Armstrong’s foundation has improved the lives of countless people who have been affected by cancer, and we should all thank him for that. Does it mean we should forgive him for everything? I don’t think so, but that is a personal choice that we will all have to make. My point is simply this: Try to separate Armstrong’s athletic accomplishments from his philanthropic work, and remember the good things he’s done. While Armstrong may never be forgiven for the shortcuts he took to winning championships and his deplorable behavior, his charitable efforts are worthy of some respect. Don’t get me wrong. Armstrong’s a jerk. Just don’t take it out on LIVESTRONG. <<<

Paly Pulse Which winter sport is most likely to win a CCS title? Girls’ basketball 1% Wrestling

14%

Boys’ soccer

15%

Boys’ basketball 33% Girls’ soccer

37%

Percentages based on 91 votes from vikingsportsmag.com

FEBRUARY 2013


Tries

R LLER DISCO For this edition of “The Viking Tries,” Viking staffers threw it back to the 1980’s as they tested their roller Images taken from skating skills at the Redwood Roller Rink. by AUDREY DeBRUINE and PIPPA RAFFEL designed by Zach Rizk

photo by Alan Lamarque

ROLLING Staff members Pippa Raffel (‘14) and Audrey DeBruine (‘14) pose for the camera. The staff had a groovy time.

A

s flu season rolls around, Paly students have been falling ill left and right. Recently, five members of The Viking caught a different bug: Saturday Night Fever. There was only one possible cure: hit the roller disco. Our staff, clad in bell bottoms and fur, piled into a time machine and took a trip to funky town. When we arrived at our des-

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

tination, Redwood Roller Rink, the five of us were ready to get groovy, baby. We were so excited and just couldn’t hide it as we entered the rink. Admission and rentals cost a grand total of $14, or the equivalent of $3.85 in 1978, which was a steal for the amount of fun we had. Roller disco was a sensation that swept the nation in the 1970s, peaking around 1980. The combination of disco music, dance, and light-

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ing and the opportunity for sweet moves provided by roller blades made for an irresistible way to spend a weekend night. As we strutted in, we couldn’t help but turn heads; who wouldn’t want to check out the five most impeccably dressed disco-ers in rink? We quickly laced up our vintage quad skates and carefully and somewhat hesitantly rolled onto the smooth wooden rink. We know what you are thinking. What is the


Our top 10 disco songs “Night Fever" Bee Gees

1 2 3 4 5 6

"Stayin' Alive" Bee Gees

"That’s the way I like it"

"Let's Groove"

Earth, Wind & Fire

Lam

arq

ue

KC and The Sunshine Band

Alan

difference between good old fashioned quads and your typical inline rollerblade? Inline skates have one line of wheels and are better suited for skating speedily outdoors. Quads, on the other hand, have four wheels in a square, and are intended for moving and grooving indoors. Audrey impressed early with natural pizazz as she effortlessly glided and hustled her way about. It seemed like she just couldn’t get enough of the rink. For Pippa, the ice princess, with a history of figure skating, it took a couple minutes to get into a rythm, but once she adjusted to her new boogie shoes, she was ready to freak out. For the other three, however, simply putting one skate in front of the other proved more challenging. Colin was on the ground within seconds of entering the rink, and he ended up spending more time sitting on his groove thing than shaking it. Alan and Tara fared slightly better, managing to waddle around without plopping too much, and they picked up speed as the night progressed. In the middle of the session, the lights came on and the DJ skated out onto the rink to lead the skaters in a dance to “Cupid Shuffle” by Cupid. Pippa and Audrey effortlessly sidestepped to the beat, but Colin was having a little more trouble feeling the beat and was pretty wobbly. We had been dancing the night away for so long that our feet started to cramp, and we eventually decided that it was time to return back to the 21st century. (Plus, Pippa and Audrey have strict 11 p.m. curfews). As we retired our skates and left the rink, we couldn’t help but feel that we had left a part of ourselves out there on the dance floor. Disco may have died out decades ago, but it is stayin’ alive in our hearts. <<<

KC and The Sunshine Band

to b y

WHEELS Staff member Colin Patterson (‘13) shows off his roller skates.

"Boogie Shoes"

pho

photo by Alan Lamarque

"The Hustle"

Van McCoy & the Soul City Symphony

"1999" Prince

7 8 9 10

"Funkytown"

Lipps Inc.

"Y.M.C.A."

Village People

"Get Down Tonight"

KC and the Sunshine Band

FEBRUARY 2013


The Pop Culture Grid Love Of

W HAT DO PA LY ATHLET ES SAY?

Track

Favorite Valentine’s Day candy? Sour Patch Kids Red or pink? Dream Valentine?

Michelle Xie (‘16)

Kian McHugh (‘14)

Josie Butler (‘13)

Maya Benatar (‘16)

Ghiradelli dark and raspberry squares

Any and all chocolate

Reese’s

See’s Candies

Pink

Red

Red

Emma Watson

Ryan Gosling

Liam from 90210

Matt Tolbert (‘13)

Golf

Pink

Red Kim Kardashian

Best date spot?

Ice skating rink

Cupid is...

A love guru

Swimming

Harry Shum Jr.

Home with chocolates and “Mean Girls”

Apparently busy with other people

HOT

Beach day in Santa Cruz Ratchet

Basketball

Somewhere with really good food

Lacrosse

Overrated

Images taken from

My bed Fat

Paly Hoops

With the recent loss of hoops star E.J. Floreal (‘13), the Paly boys’ basketball team has surprised the De Anza league with a 20-1 start.

San Jose Sharks

Finally beginning the season after the long NHL lockout, the Sharks, one of the best teams in the NHL, have emerged with a 7-2-1 record as of Feb. 7.

Lance Armstrong

or

On Jan. 15, 2013, the professional biker finally admitted to using of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) after a long battle against the media. 18 | T H E V I K I N G |

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Super Bowl Refs

“The Niners make it to the Super Bowl! The Dynasty has been rejuvenated! The refereess still suck!” The San Francisco 49ers lost their first Super Bowl to the Baltimore Ravens; the game ended with poor goal-line offense from the 49ers.

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10Questions with

Maddy Atwater

as told to Tara Lawrence

The Viking asked freshman varsity basketball player Maddy Atwater (‘16) 10 questions about herself. Teammate Annie Susco (‘13), friend Halle Biorn (‘16) and boyfriend Justin Hull (‘16) were asked the same 10 questions to see who knows Maddy best.

Maddy Atwater

Halle Biorn

Justin Hull

Pregame ritual?

None

None

Getting her hair done by Charlotte

Giants

Favorite Bay Area sports team?

Niners

Niners

Niners

Derrick Rose

Sports idol?

I don’t know

Derrick Rose

Michael Jordan

Halle

Best friend?

Her cousin Angie

Courtney Loveley

Halle

Eat healthier

New Year’s Resolution?

Doesn’t have one

Make more 3-pointers

Work on shot

Basketball

Favorite sport to watch?

Basketball

Basketball

Basketball

Running track

Best thing about spring?

Warm weather

Track

Midnight Baskebtall

Nikes

Nikes or Jordans?

Nikes

Nikes

Nikes

English

Favorite subject?

ASL (sign language)

Bio

English

No uniforms

Best thing about public school?

No uniforms

Meeting new people

Free dress

40%

50%

50%

Starting point guard

Questions

Don’t have one

Images taken from

Friend

Boyfriend

Annie Susco Teammate

FEBRUARY 2013


CLASS of 2014

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Completing the legacy by ROHIT RAMKUMAR photos courtesy of Jacey Pederson

Up-and-coming freshman star makes her own mark on the soccer field.

FAST BREAK In her Paly uniform, Pederson has already become made an impact player for the girls’ soccer team.

J

oc Pederson (‘10), outfielder in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, always knew his sister, Jacey Pederson (‘16), would be a special athlete. “She grew up playing sports with us and she got all the athleticism from the family,” Joc said. “You could tell early that she’s pretty athletic.” Mother Shelly attributes her athleticism to her brothers. “She saw her brothers do their thing and excel,” Shelly said. “I think it inspired her to do the same.” Unlike her two older brothers, Joc and Tyger (‘08), who played baseball at Paly, Jacey excels at soccer and is arguably more talented than both of her brothers. However, she was not immediately fond of soccer in her early years. “When I first started playing I actually hated it,” Jacey said. “When I first started playing, I wouldn’t go, I would cry.” She chose to stick with soccer specifically for the team aspect and the fluid play. “You can express a lot of creativity on the field,” Jacey said. “There are no set or organized plays so you get to be free flowing and in the moment which is pretty cool and it’s fun to learn new things and then try them on the field.” A great athlete has an unmatched work ethic and the ability to make the players around him or her better. Transcendent athletes like David Beckham, Buster Posey, and Kobe Bryant all are examples of the kind of athlete that is a catalyst for the people around them. Many Paly athletes over the years have tried to be this

FEBRUARY 2013


1. Jacey dribbles the ball and attacks for her club team, Union. 2. Looking across the field, Jacey awaits the next play. 3. Jacey seeks a teammate to get the ball out of trouble. 4. Jacey is pictured with her brother, Joc Pederson, a past Paly baseball star and current member of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ AA team.

2

4

3

1 athlete. Some have succeeded and many have not, but Jacey looks to be the next Paly Viking that could assume this role. Not only that, but with Tyger playing Division 1 baseball at University of the Pacific, and Joc moving up the ranks with

the Dodgers, the pressure to live up to the standard that has been set by her brothers is daunting. Being a talented high school athlete can be overwhelming as the pressures of meeting expectations and playing in college start to surface.

“My first ever soccer picture. I was six

years old.”

“From a couple years ago. I was playing with my

club team.” 22 | T H E V I K I N G |

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A strong family network and unwavering support can provide a player with the confidence they need to stay on track. Paly Teammate Sunny Lyu (‘14) credits Jacey’s strong connection to her family as allowing her to maintain an even keel. “Both her brothers and dad have gone

“With my brother Joc after one of his games for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes last season.”

Jacey Pederson


through recruitment from college to the professional level and have supported her and helped her make decisions and guided her,” Lyu said. “They’ve helped her create a vision so she can go to that path.” Joc agrees and looks to support Jacey in her athletic endeavors. “We’re proud of her, she has dreams to accomplish more,” Joc said. “We’re going to support her the whole way.” With all that talent comes more exposure from college coaches and Jacey is no stranger to that. Many coaches from top Division 1 schools attend the U.S Women’s soccer camps and Pederson has received her fair share of exposure at these camps. At the same time, Shelly wants Jacey to stay focused on the task at hand and enjoy high school athletics as much as possible. “We want her to experience everything in high school first and focus on high school soccer at the time being,” Shelly said. Shelly reiterated the fact that family support helps Jacey stay on track despite all of the different experiences and commitments. “We do support her and keep her balanced,” Shelly said. “It’s not all about soccer and we want her to find time to do other things.” As both a club player and high school player Jacey acknowledges the differences between high school soccer and club soc-

cer but maintains her love for both. “It’s a lot different. In my club team, the environment is a little more intense and we do more technical stuff because they are more focused towards developing players,” Pederson said. “Paly is a little less intense but it’s fun. It’s definitely more social and you get to meet a lot of different people.” Jacey has not only made an impact on the success of the team, but has made an impression on teammates as well. “She’s the kind of player where everything she does make you want to do better,” teammate Alys Olmstead (‘16) said. “Playing with her makes you a better player.” However, Jacey likes to keep her sense of humor while still being focused. “She’s kind of silly and funny and quirky and she always makes people laugh,” Olmstead said. Olmstead also cites Jacey’s quirky personality as an aspect that draws people towards her. “She loves food and she’s always trying new health fads,” Olmstead said. “Every day I talk to her I find out a new recipe I should try or something.” Being an athlete in high school can be a hectic task. The ability to juggle sports with school is very important in the success of an athlete. Jacey has to deal with twice this much pressure as she attempts

“A picture with my club team from last spring season.”

the road to glory

to make the USA Women U-17 team. Her journey towards this goal started the summer before eighth grade when she was called to participate at the U15 in Portland, Oregon. She was then sent to other U-15 camps around the country and will soon attend the U17 camp. Jacey embraces the pressure of playing for her country and savors the learning experience. “It’s super cool because you get to play with a bunch of highly trained players at well so you learn a lot,” Jacey said. “You are getting coached by new people so you learn different coaching techniques.” Through all the camps and trips to unknown places, one would think that Jacey might be burned out by the pressure to succeed, but the unwavering support from her family and their influence has kept her on an even keel. With so many options for the future such as college soccer and professional soccer, Jacey will have some important decision to make about her future. When speaking about her future, Joc kept it simple. “Whatever makes her happy, whatever she wants to do,” Joc said. Joc maintains however, that Jacey will need to keep her work ethic that has made her a popular player on Paly’s girl soccer team. “She gifted but shes got to keep working, nobody going to give you anything in this life, the sky’s the limit.”<<<

“Playing for the

one and only Vikings!”

“Last July when I went to the beach on an off day

with Joc.”

FEBRUARY 2013


PINNING AT ALL COSTS Hardships, struggles and rewards highlight Paly’s toughest sport. by PIPPA RAFFEL design by Michelle Friedlander photo by Scotty Bara

T

he sculpture of The Two Wrestlers standing in the Uffizi Collection in Florence, Italy depicts just one moment in the timeless sport of wrestling. The two muscular men have remained forever frozen amidst their battle to top one another for over five thousand years. During the winter months, this scene of two struggling wrestlers comes alive each day in the Palo Alto High School gym. Last year, more than a quarter of a million boys and eight thousand girls participated in the sixth most popular boys’ sport in high school. These athletes work endless hours improving their form, strength and endurance to prepare for a few intense minutes of competition. Despite the huge number of competitors participating in wrestling around the country, the sport receives relatively little recognition in the media and in public. This lack of appreciation for wrestling could possibly be due to the fact that the sport is often not very well understood, and the Paly community is no exception. “Wrestling is misunderstood by a lot of people because they think that it’s just rolling around in tights on a mat,” varsity football and wrestling captain Erik Anderson (‘13) said. “But it’s the opposite of that. People don’t realize how hard it is. There’s no sport harder than wrestling.” Many Paly students, misinformed about the wrestling culture, underestimate the sport’s challenges. While Anderson has been a devoted wrestler for the past 12 years, teammate Andrew Frick (‘14) originally knew nothing about about wrestling when he first set foot on campus. “In the beginning of freshman year, I heard around that wrestling was the hardest sport at Paly,” Frick said. “I didn’t know if that was true.” Now in his third season after having qualified for the 2012 State Tour-

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Feature Story

FEBRUARY 2013 MARCH 2012


nament, Frick is confident that wrestling is the most mentally and physically tough sport offered at Paly. “A wrestling match is like trying to flex every muscle in your body as hard as you can for six minutes straight,” Frick said. “To try and train for that, the coaches try to push you as hard as you can possibly go and then when you’re super tired and you want to give up, then they push you even harder. [Preparing] for that six minutes of just complete, 100 percent full effort, that’s why [wrestling] is harder than anything else.” Each scholastic wrestling match is comprised of three two-minute periods; each period starts off with the two wrestlers in either the neutral or referee’s position. In the

neutral position both wrestlers stand facing each other about three feet apart, whereas in the referee’s position one wrestler is perched down on all fours, while the other wrestler is positioned on top of his opponent, kneeling on his nearside. The top wrestler, who has the advantage, also places his far-side arm around his opponent’s waist with the hand of the other arm on the elbow of his opponent and his far-side leg of the top man is placed behind the bottom wrestler. To prepare for this six minute battle, an intensive training regimen is crucial. Workouts range from hill sprints to exhausting drills with teammates. Although wrestling at Paly is a winter sport, preseason conditioning begins in the fall for the wrestlers, making

HEAD STRONG Andrew Frick (‘14) goes head-to-head with Gunn wrestler Marsha Mokkarala (‘13). After three years of wrestling, Frick feels he understands how difficult the sport can be.

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it almost a two-season sport. Wrestling conditioning includes various types of weight lifting to build muscle along with long runs in the hot sun (or heavy sweats if it is cold outside) to cut weight. Not only are the wrestlers constantly working out, but they are also under pressure to lose or maintain their weight for every competition in order to stay in their weight class. Paly wrestler Gary Hobach (‘13) recently had to put in extra hours of training in order to lose weight for the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) championships, in which he won first place in the 152-pound weight class. “I’m cutting a lot of weight for leagues right now,” wrestler Hobach said. “I’m cutting probably over 10 pounds. It’s pretty tough because


you are already at a lean weight from working out, so losing weight is pretty hard.” The Central Coast Section (CCS) has 14 weight classes for wrestlers, ranging from 106 to 285 pounds. The different weight classes provide an opportunity for athletes who may be limited by their size in another sport, such as football, to be able to reap the rewards of countless hours of training. “You can be a real tiny guy or girl or a real big guy or girl because there are so many [weight] classes,” Paly head coach David Duran said. “The kid that works very hard can be successful.” Once the whistle blows, competitors in the same weight class strive to try to pin their opponent, and therefore end the match. A

pin, or fall, occurs when one wrestler holds another wrestler on his or her back with his or her shoulder blades pinned to the mat for at least two seconds. However, more often than not, wrestlers make moves like takedowns, reversals, escapes and near falls on their opponents in order to gain the points that will ultimately lead them to victory. Unlike in other contact sports at the high school level, these combative moves are executed with the intention of foisting pain upon the opponent. Jim Anderson, father of Miles (‘11) and Erik and a former wrestler himself, finds that the aggressive nature of wrestling separates it from other high school sports. “[Wrestling] is different than probably any

other high school sport [in which] you are not trying to cause pain; [In most sports] you are trying to score doing other things. You are not trying to hurt them,” J. Anderson said. “There is a difference between inflicting pain and hurting.” As a safety precaution, there are penalty points, where additional points can be awarded to the opponent of the wrestler in violation of certain rules and conduct. Although wrestlers compete individually, each match contributes to an overall team score, invoking a sense of responsibility among teammates. “It has the team element and the individual element,” Frick said. “But on the weekends at the tournaments it’s interesting because you

A wrestling match is like trying to flex every muscle in your body as hard as you can for six minutes... That’s why [wrestling] is harder than anything else. -Andrew Frick (‘14)

photo courtesy of Jim Anderson FEBRUARY 2013


get all the credit when you win but then again you get all the blame when you lose. You can’t put the blame on a teammate or take the credit from a teammate. It’s all you. There’s no getting out of it.” This element of wrestling has often proven to be a challenge, both mentally and physically, in itself especially in comparison to traditional team sports. “I think one of the hardest things about wrestling is just to actually step foot on the mat to begin with,” J. Anderson said. “It is a lot easier to go out on a field when you have all your teammates surrounding you and you

know people are watching your back for you. In wrestling you don’t; you’re walking out there by yourself and you’re the only one who can do anything.” Stepping onto the mat with nothing but a singlet to cover their back creates a profound sense of pressure to perform for both wrestlers. “There’s a lot of anxiety about everything,” E. Anderson said. “Every time you step on the mat, your ego and everything is at risk.” Despite years of experience and numerous victories, E. Anderson and the newer Viking wrestlers are all faced with difficult trials dur-

ing each day of wrestling. “Going to practice every day [is one of the biggest challenges],” E. Anderson said. “Practices aren’t like any other sport. Football practice you don’t go all out, every day. You don’t have a full contact game every day. It’s one of the hardest sports because you go all out the whole time.” Frick agrees with his teammate’s belief about the daily wrestling grind. “Just getting through every practice [is difficult],” he said. “Every practice is a challenge. The coaches try and push us harder every single day. It feels good every day when I’m

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1. Andrew Frick (‘14) attempts to pin his opponent during a match against Gunn. 2. Erik Anderson (‘13) gathers his thoughts after pinning another wrestler. 3. Gary Hobach (‘13) holds down a Gunn wrestler to secure a win. 4. Erik Anderson (‘13) attempts to throw his opponent to the ground. 5. Alex Taussig (‘13) goes head to head with an opponent in a match agaisnt Gunn. 6. James Giaccia (‘15) works hard to pin an opponent in a dual. 7. Gary Hobach (‘13) overpowers the wrestler opposite him.

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photo by Scotty Bara going home from a tough practice having gotten through it.” Duran acknowledges the brutality of the practices as well as the sport as a whole. “Even at the high school level this will probably be the toughest thing the person has ever done in their life,” Duran said. But why would anybody endure the countless hours of intensity and pain? “Winning [is the most rewarding part of wrestling],” E. Anderson said. “That’s the only reason to wrestle. That’s the fun part, because you know you beat the guy.” Not only does winning provide the wrestlers with motivation to work hard, but also teaches wrestlers important values that prove to be helpful later in life. “When you’re successful in something that is really hard, it builds your confidence and it also lets you [transfer it] to other things in life,” J. Anderson said. “When you’re facing something that’s a very hard task, you know that you can overcome it and be successful if you continue to work. The discipline, the

hard work that goes into wrestling, and the ability to be mentally strong in order to be successful, are things that really help you for the rest of your life.” In J. Anderson’s experience the wrestling work ethic is passed not just to other aspects of his own life, but is also shared from generation to generation. “Many people I know that have wrestled [do so] because they’ve had family who’ve wrestled,” J. Anderson said. “For me, my cousin and my brother wrestled so they were always coming home and practicing moves on me so I got introduced to it in the house.” Last season, a similar family influence was observed with several Paly wrestlers. Kalen Gans (‘12), a top wrestler for his team, followed his father’s footsteps and wrestled alongside his younger brother, Jordan Gans (‘14). In addition, Jeff Frick and J. Anderson have inspired their sons, top wrestlers for the Paly program, to carry on their legacy. These family ties have supported wrestlers through their toughest times.

photo courtesy of Jim Anderson “[Wrestling has] made me want to quit a lot of times,” A. Frick said. “It’s a rough sport, but I think I’ve gotten a lot more mentally tough.” Duran finds that wrestling is a model for life’s challenges and believes that wrestling truly shows that success is the product of sweat and hard work. “‘Work in equals work out’ is the way that success goes,” Duran said. Somehow, despite the intensity and grueling nature of the sport, athletes continue to be drawn to this form of competition and in turn benefit from the rewards of the hard work it requires. Frick and many others who have only recently begun wrestling serve as an example of how a better understanding of wrestling and its demands helps lead to greater recognition and appreciation of the sport and its ancient legacy. Even after the longest days with countless moves, drills, and battles that could be forever captured in marble, wrestlers are able to pick themselves up after being pinned, and come back to defeat their next opponent. <<<

FEBRUARY 2013


Great Debate: The Great Debate

Snowboarding by SCOTTY BARA Snowboarding has become a very popular fad in the last ten years. Snowboarders used to be in the minority on the mountain but now the number of skiers and snowboarders is about the same. “Snowboarding is equally [as] popular as skiing with young people” Taylor Boyle (‘13) said. “On any given day, you’ll see as many snowboarders as skiers on the mountain.” The average number of days that snowboarders go up to the mountains per season is 6.1 days as opposed to skiers, which is 5.5 days. Snowboarders argue that snowboarding is more comfortable. “I love the fact that both my feet are on one board compared to skiing where when you fall, your skis always come off and its just a hassle.” Quitterie Collignon (‘13) said. Snowboarders have boots that are more like shoes and bindings that can easily pop out. The boards are easy to carry and lighter as opposed to the awkward size and shape of skis. In terms of riding, snowboards were invented to mimic surfing, especially in powder. “Snowboards work nicely in powder and skis are better for ice,” Collignon (‘13) said. It appears that people who are new to snowboarding tend to learn how to snowboard faster than skiers learn how to ski. “Snowboarding would be more ideal for a first timer,” George Keller (‘14) said. “You could probably pick it up in a couple of days if you’re athletic.” Snowboarders at Paly also argue that it is a harder sport overall. “I believe it is more challenging than skiing,” Boyle (‘13) said. Snowboarders also have a younger, edgier style component. Baggy pants, colorful jackets and radically colored helmets and goggles are distinctive youth fashions for snowboarders. Companies such as Burton have become 30 | T H E V I K I N G |

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extremely successful betting on the trend of snowboarding. Burton has created innovative lines such as the Shaun White line, seeking creative inspiration from the gold medal winning Olympic snowboard icon. Snowboarding is edgier in terms of style, fashion and athletic approach. Competitions including the half pipe and other acrobatic competitions owe their roots to snowboarding and now legitimate, mainstream Olympic sports. <<<


Skiing by PAUL BIENAIMÉ

Picture yourself carving perfectly down the mountain. The sun is out and the air is fresh; suddenly, a snowboarder comes stomping down behind you, cutting you off and misting cold snow all over. The feeling of discomfort takes you straight out of heaven and places you in misery. The adrenaline is gone, along with your line and the motive to continue skiing for the rest of the day. Evidently, skiiers and snowboarders should have some margins of isolation. In my opinion, skiing is the right way to hit the slopes. The fast pace of skiing exceeds the “strapping up” and “pushing” struggles that a snowboarder faces. There is nothing better than the thrill and excitement I feel when easily pushing off the chairlift, heading towards the unmarked terrain without stopping to tighten my bindings and hopelessly hop my way to the bowl. Whether it is dropping into a powder bowl, a forest of deep snow or the top of a terrain park, in my experience, skiing has always been quicker and more versatile than snowboarding. Olivia Cole (‘13) supports my views on the comfort of a skiier. “You can do steep tree runs that snowboarders can’t do very comfortably,” Cole said. “Snowboarders usually have to take their gear off and walk across the flats when they don’t have any momentum.” My ability to make sharp jump turns, maneuver through a tight set of trees and float above the powder is facilitated by the individual movement of each of my feet. Buckling into my pair of thick K2 skis grants me access to the whole mountain. Whether I want to hit the powder or the jib park simply depends on my mood, and is not limited by my equipment. George Keller (‘14) both skis and snowboards, and has committed the rest of his mountain life to skiing. “One can do anything on the mountain with the same pair of skis,” Keller said. “You can do backcountry, park, steeper stuff and powder more easily.” I also believe skiiers adapt a different way of stomp-

ing down the slopes. The structured way involves tight knees, rotating hips, stiff poles and symmetrical turns. Snowboarders are seen by skiiers to uneffectively twist and turn slowly down the mountain, parting the powder from the slope, leaving it unpleasant for skiiers. On this note, some resorts like Deer Valley and Alta prohibit snowboarders in order to increase the enjoyment for skiers, which is much appreciated by me. Henry Tucher (‘13) has been skiing since he was a toddler and also believes that skiers possess a more formal style than skiers do. “Snowboarders never seem to descend a pitch gracefully or with finesse,” Tucher said. “I prefer skiing because I like how it is versatile and elegant.” Off the mountain, the typical image of a skiier is usually accompanied by an elegance of the châlet lifestyle. The shredding snowboarder does not envision waddling through the carpeted halls of a cozy lodge warmed-up by a mesquite fireplace. “They certainly wouldn’t welcome you and your snowboard at some of the resorts in the Alps,” Tucher said. Now picture yourself stomping down the mountain with no interference from snowboarders and nobody ruining your line. The snow is perfectly groomed and no odd carving is present. That sounds like a better day on the mountain to me. <<<

FEBRUARY 2013


CHEER TEAM DANCE TEAM by PAUL BIENAIMÉ

The Paly cheer team has been around for over half a century and has performed at hundreds of football and basketball games, as well as numerous competitions in Las Vegas. Three short years ago, a group of students decided to start a dance team, which would perform at similar events. The dance team was thought to be in conflict with the cheer team, so we investigated.

Captains: Sophie Parker, Tia Rabinovitz, and Fiona Cullen

Captains: Olivia Maggi and Maya Kitayama

Years of exsistence: 50+

Years of existence: three

Number of people: 12

Number of people: 10

Techniques: flips and stunts

Techniques: turns and leaps

Favorite sport to cheer: football

Favorite sport to dance: football

Favorite Music: “Get Out of Your Mind” and foreign music

Favorite music: KE$HA mix

Team traditions: holiday parties and sleepovers

Team traditions: dinner after games

Check out the video to see both teams perform at the Winter Rally along with captain interviews!

Watch both teams perform online at: vikingsportsmag.com

36.5%

BY THE NUMBERS

Three-point shooting percentage of Viking guard Scotty Peery (‘13).

9-4-2

Record of the boys’ varsity soccer team this season as of Feb. 7, after finishing 0-13 last season. 32 | T H E V I K I N G |

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272,149

Number of male high school wrestlers in the U.S. last year, compared to 8,235 female wrestlers.

5,290

Average number of steps taken during a boys’ varsity lacrosse practice.


Who is the fittest? The Viking’s very own Charlotte Biffar (‘13) of the girls’ lacrosse team and Jonny Glazier (‘13) of boys’ lacrosse test the Nike Fuelband out at practice. The state-of-the-art technology uses a sports-tested accelerometer to measure the movement of the two Vikings in NikeFuel, a universal metric of activity.

GIRLS’

S TAT S

BOYS’

LACROSSE

RECORDED

LACROSSE

1,022

CALORIES BURNED

547

12,972

STEPS TAKEN

5,090

N/A

NIKE-FUEL

1,875 photos by Scotty Bara FEBRUARY 2013


Three things on Spencer’s mind

by SPENCER DRAZOVICH

photo by Misty3129/flickr

BACK ON THE ICE Torrey Mitchell fights for the puck in a game last season. The Sharks have started off hot this season and sit at the top of their division.

1.

depression. Niners fans can no longer be consoled by the fact there “will be next week.” The Super Bowl is the end of the road, the ultimate prize, and with it gone many of us can feel a void in our psyches. The only way I have found to fill this void is by taking part in mind-wandering and entertaining activities that can take my thoughts away from fourth and goal from the five yard line. My first suggestion would be to indulge in something new, like watching some hockey. I understand that hockey is not quite football but for our purposes it will have to suffice. The sport is fast paced with plenty of physicality. In addition, the San Jose Sharks are dominating their competition so far this season. This is a good time to jump on the bandwagon and become a Sharks hockey aficionado. Hey, maybe this is their year. When in the mood for a bold move, one can switch the channel to NBA or NCAA bas-

How to beat the February lull:

If you were to ask any sports fan what their least favorite month of the year was, they would undoubtedly say February. This is a simple decision for any sane person, simply because of the absence of America’s favorite game, football. Drug addicts will tell you the first month of abstinence is the hardest and for avid football fans, this is exactly the case. The Super Bowl perenially takes place on the first Sunday of February. As the Holy Grail of football games, the build up to the Super Bowl is immense. Two weeks of coverage on every major network, especially ESPN, makes fans dream of the game for 14 grueling days. On the day of the game, wings are fried, beers are poured and butts are squished into couches. For four hours, nothing matters more than the 22 demigods duking it out on the gridiron. As emotions run high and cholesterols run higher, a victor is finally decided. This year, the Baltimore Ravens edged the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 34-31. This left the bay area in a bloated state of manic

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photo by Jeffrey Beall/flickr

LINEMEN 49ers’ linemen Ricky Jean Francois (left) and Ian Williams (right) walk off the field after the end of a quarter. Is football season really over?

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


ketball. The basketball season is in full swing both at the collegiate and professional levels. Granted, dunking a basketball isn’t quite the same as seeing someone lit up on the football field, but watching two high-profile teams go at it can be appealing. Not to mention with NCAA rankings fluctuating like a game of musical chairs, watching the rest of the season could give valuable insight into your March Madness bracket. Then again, you’re probably screwed anyway. Now, there are bold moves and then there are BOLD moves. When the going gets tough, the tough watch golf. With big time tournaments such as the Honda Classic and Puerto Rico Open just around the corner, the golf season is really heating up. February can also be a nice month to focus on your studies. Putting in the extra time now and padding the grade can pay dividends in March when classes are spent watching basketball on your phone and school takes a back seat.

2.

Bay Area dominance:

As I mentioned before, Bay Area sports have taken off this month. The Niners were five yards away from a Super Bowl victory, the Warriors are in playoff contention and at the moment the Sharks are the hottest team in hockey. Not to mention the Giants, who have won two of the last three World Series championships. Five years ago, Boston was the place to be if you were an athlete. They dominated sports across the board with high profile athletes such as Tom Brady and Kevin Garnett. However, the tides are changing and the epicenter of sport is shifting to the west coast, mainly the Bay Area. Of course, there will be skeptics to this claim for obvious reasons. The Niners did just lose the Super Bowl to the underdog Ravens and Sharks are the most pathetic playoff hockey team in the NHL. However, you cannot argue with the facts. After posting losing records in the previous five seasons, the Niners have made it to back to back NFC Championship games and are among the top five NFL teams, according to some experts. Colin Kaepernick is young and still tearing up some of the league’s best defenses. He has unprecedented athleticism and he will only continue to get better with time. The Niners’ defense is the most brutal in the league, with more Pro Bowl performers than any other team. The case for the Niners is an easy one to make. Unlike the aging Ravens, who have reached their pinnacle, the future is looking bright under coach Jim Harbaugh. Have you ever heard of the Golden State Warriors? Don’t worry, neither had I until about a month ago. However, they deserve a

photo by Aunti Juli/flickr

BIG TIME TIMMY JIM San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum lines up in the batter’s box. Despite Lincecum’s subpar pitching performance last season the Giants still won the World Series. little love considering they are about to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006. The Warriors lack a premiere superstar, but players such as Steph Curry and David Lee provide enough star power to propel the team into the playoffs. Right now, Golden State is sitting comfortably in sixth place in the Western Conference but is within two wins of jumping into fourth place. They have beat some of the league’s top teams in the Miami Heat, New Jersey Nets and L.A. Clippers. As one of the scrappiest teams in the NBA, the Warriors could have the Bay Area believing again. The San Jose Sharks have started off the abbreviated hockey season on a hot streak. The Sharks are at the top of their division, and their early dominance proves that chemistry will not be an issue this season. Despite a shortened preseason, the team is playing with the camaraderie of a seasoned team of veterans. This bodes well for the postseason and has Bay Area hockey fans licking their chops for a Stanley Cup victory. Although they are not in action at the moment, the baseball season is right around the corner and the Giants are gearing up to repeat their World Series championship. Twice in the last three years the team has adopted the underdog mentality and ridden the wave of success all the way to the championship. This year, the team is returning largely the same roster that the won it all last season. A new and improved Dodgers team stands in their way, but the Giants’ strong rotation and scrappy lineup will be back to defeat the hated Los Angeles team.

With up and coming stars and teams starting to play to their potential, Bay Area fans finally have something to look forward to every season. It has been a long time coming, and after years of depressing outcomes, our patience is finally paying off.

3.

Tolu is back and balance is restored:

Tolu Wusu has returned to Palo Alto High School to coach the jumping team. As the current triple jump record holder and three year varsity star at Palo Alto High School, Tolu is back to share his wisdom with Paly’s young athletes. Wusu attended Paly until 2003 and was the athlete of the year at Paly his junior year. He left to attend Philips Academy for his senior year and then graduated from U.C. Davis in 2008. Wusu excelled in football, wrestling and track and field during his time at Paly. As the jumping coach during the 2010 season, Tolu helped develop a young team of talented jumpers. He left the team for the next two seasons to pursue his aspirations of being an Olympic triple jumper. However, after the London Olympics, he has decided to return to Paly to coach his jumpers Victor Du (‘13), Kenny Jones (‘13), Eilon Tzur (‘13) and Grant Shorin (‘13) in their final season. Tolu’s wealth of knowledge and laid back attitude will be a huge addition to the field team this season. With his leadership, his athletes are set to dominate this season. <<<

FEBUARY 2013


‘E.J.

WHO?’ by AUDREY DeBRUINE and JULIA SAUL photos by Grant Shorin

ANCHORED BY THREE STEADFAST VETERANS AND BUOYED BY AN INFLUX OF UNEXPECTED UPPERCLASSMEN TALENT, THE PALY BOYS’ BASKETBALL TEAM IS POISED TO MAKE HISTORY.

O

FIVE IN FRONT Starters Mathias Schmutz (‘13), Eilon Tzur (‘13), Aubrey Dawkins (‘13), Keller Chryst (‘14) and Aldis Petriceks (‘13) have led their team to a SCVAL title. Chryst and Tzur were not on the team last year.

n Feb. 25, 2012, almost exactly one year ago, the Paly boys’ basketball team lost a heartbreaker in overtime to the St. Francis High School Lancers in the semifinals of the Central Coast Section (CCS) Division II championship tournament. This was the last game Israel Hakim (‘12), the team’s second-leading scorer, and captain Alec Wong (‘12), the team’s leader in assists and steals, would play as Vikings. Six months later, in August, coach Adam Sax found out that the St. Francis game had been star player E.J. Floreal’s (‘13) last game in a Paly jersey as well. With E.J.’s unexpected departure after last season, the basketball team lost its leading scorer and rebounder, who averaged 11.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. E.J.’s father, Edrick, the former director of track and field at Stanford University, accepted the head coaching position at the University of Kentucky last July. E.J. was given the choice to finish his senior season at Paly, but opted to join his family in Lexington, Kentucky. As a forward for the Paul Laurence Dunbar High School basketball team, E.J. is now averaging 11.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. Despite the attention placed on E.J.’s departure, the members of the basketball team were determined to move on and forge their own identity. “I remember in the [San Francisco] Chronicle, when they put us in the [preseason] rankings, and the caption was ‘If only E.J.Floreal had stayed.’ But it’s never like we were thinking, ‘Oh, we need to prove anyone wrong,’” guard Mathias Schmutz

FEBRUARY 2013


WINNING COMBINATION Left to right: Dawkins, Peery and Tzur make plays for the Vikings against Los Gatos on Feb. 8. Tzur, Chryst and Peery (below) leapt onto the scene this year to seamlessly complement three varsity veterans in Schmutz, Dawkins and Petriceks (bottom left).

(‘13) said. “Maybe in the back of our minds, but I think the whole time we had our team and we were going to do what we could with the players we had, and we just did a good job focusing on our objectives and accomplishing them.” Even though last year’s team was arguably more talented on paper, this year’s team has gone undefeated in league play and is 23-1 overall. They have won every league game by a margin of over 10 points and are poised to enter CCS play this month. With a likely Open Division berth, the Vikings will make their first appearance in the Northern California playoffs since Jeremy Lin’s state championship victory in 2006. This success is due to a combination of vet-

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

eran experience and an influx of new talent, with important contributions coming from the entire team rather than a single star. “I really like the team chemistry,” guard Aldis Petriceks (‘13) said. “I think we have a lot of guys who are really unselfish and our skill sets mesh together better than they did last year. We all just work really hard as a team together and we trust each other.” E.J.’s departure, coupled with the graduation of the class of 2012, which included such talents as Hakim and Wong, forced new and returning players to step up and fill the void. Despite only moderate expectations, the team started off the season with an overall record of 9-1 before entering league play. Its record in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League

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

(SCVAL) De Anza division is a perfect 11-0 and with a win over Cupertino High School on Feb. 5, the Vikes clinched first place in the league. This success is driven not only by returning players such as current leading scorer Aubrey Dawkins (‘13), but also by new additions to the team. Three key additions to the team this year have been guard Scotty Peery (‘13), forward Eilon Tzur (‘13) and center Keller Chryst (‘14). Peery and Tzur both made the team last year but chose instead to play on the same National Junior Basketball (NJB) team, which lost only one game. Chryst was sidelined by a foot injury and chose to take the season off. “[Not playing] was obviously a bummer, but I knew I wasn’t done with basketball and I


Starting lineup Aldis Petriceks

Number: 5 Grad year: 2013 Position: Guard Points per game: 13.5

Mathias Schmutz

Number: 15 Grad year: 2013 Position: Guard Assists per game: 4.8

wanted to keep playing,” Peery said. Peery’s work throughout the year has helped him become an outside threat for the Vikes. Of the players with at least 20 three-point attempts this season, Peery’s 37% from behind the arc is the best on the team. While Peery has found his niche on the offensive side of the ball, Tzur and Chryst have teamed up to fortify the Vikings’ defense. “Keller has been really helping us with rebounding because we didn’t have many rebounders coming back, and he’s by far the leading rebounder,” Sax said. “Eilon is our defensive stopper. He’s been pretty consistent with that all year. Very unselfish when he shoots.” Part of Chryst’s impact is the sheer size he

Aubrey Dawkins

Number: 33 Grad year: 2013 Position: Forward Points per game: 18.8

Keller Chryst

Number: 2 Grad year: 2014 Position: Center Blocks per game: 2.3

brings to the team. At 6 feet 4 inches tall and 230 pounds, he is the largest starter and brings a physical presence that was previously lacking. “Keller has completely changed the team,” Tzur said. “If you take him off, we are a really short team. A lot of trouble getting the boards and playing the way we want. When he comes on the court we suddenly become a bigger team. He gets all the rebounds. He’s really competitive.” Tzur’s work on defense has been key in carrying the Vikings past their opponents and is what allows them to maintain such high margins of victory. “Eilon is just a really good defensive player and he gets his hands on a lot of balls, he gets

Eilon Tzur

Number: 21 Grad year: 2013 Position: Guard Assists per game: 2.5

a ton of deflections,” Peery said. “He’s had several games where we’ve put him on the other team’s best player and he holds them to 5 or less points. I think Troy [Whitford] (‘14) on Homestead, [SCVAL’s leading scorer], didn’t score in the first three quarters.” With three new talents bolstering the roster, Dawkins, Petriceks and Schmutz have stepped up as veterans to help the team succeed. Dawkins leads all Paly scorers and is tied with Whitford for the league lead, averaging 18.7 points per game. He also leads the team in total rebounds and steals, making him a standout performer and a vital component of the team’s offensive and defensive presence. Secondary scoring on the team is spread among the remaining players and is facilitated by Schmutz, who leads the team with 95 assists on the season, an average of 4.8 per game. This season, the coaches have aimed to spread the ball around more. “I think the offense changed [since last season],” assistant coach Eric Olah said. “We do a lot more movement. It’s all about moving, getting the extra pass, finding the open guy.” With responsibilities distributed more evenly across the board this year, the team members have found themselves working together better than in previous seasons. Heading into the CCS playoffs this year, the players are hoping this new mentality will help them avoid another disappointing exit. “Our entire team, we really like each other as people and there is no one on this team that I can’t say I’m friends with,” Petriceks said. “It’s great when you have an entire team of guys who trust each other and are willing to spend time together and put in the effort to help one another.” <<<

FEBRUARY 2013


Bouncing by AUDREY DeBRUINE photos by Grant Shorin

FOLLOWING BACK-TO-BACK CCS TITLE APPEARANCES, THE GIRLS’ BASKETBALL TEAM HAS STRUGGLE MIGHTILY THIS SEASON. YET DESPITE MAJOR PERSONEL LOSSES AND A LOSING RECORD, THE YOUNG GROUP HAS GROWN CLOSER THAN EVER.

I

n a home game against the 18-2 Wilcox High School Chargers on Jan. 16, the Paly girls’ basketball team found itself down 42-41 with the clock reading 0.0 seconds. The game, however, was not over. A Charger had committed a technical foul in the final second of the fourth quarter, giving freshman point guard Maddy Atwater a chance to rescue the Vikings. As she stepped up to the line for two free throws, the gym grew silent. Paly’s cheering section drew a collective breath as Atwater lofted up her first free throw, exhaling only when the ball swished through the net. At worst, the game was going to overtime. The fervent cheering that followed gave way to silence as Atwater toed the line for her second shot. Time seemed to slow down as the basketball left her fingers, arching towards the net and dropping into the basket with a swoosh. The Paly gym exploded as Atwater’s teammates rushed to celebrate with her. The improbable victory raised the Vikes’ league record to 2-1 and proved that they were able to compete at the same level as one of the better teams in their league. Yet even with this success in the Wilcox game, the Vikings dropped their next three games to Gunn, Saratoga and Lynbrook. Their overall record currently sits at 9-13 and their league record at 5-6. To the average Paly sports fan, the Wilcox win might appear routine; after all, the Vikings have made appearances in two straight Central Coast Section (CCS) Division I finals, winning the championship in 2011. But for the 2012-2013 team, it meant more than just a “W” in the win column.

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

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

Back


FRESHMEN IN FRONT Freshmen Alexis Harris (left), Courtney Lovely, Siggi Bengston and Maddy Atwater (lying) have been forced into the spotlight this season. This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s varsity squad is by far the youngest Scott Peters has ever coached.


This year’s team has a decidedly different look than those of years past. The young roster includes four freshmen, more than coach Scott Peters has ever had on a varsity team, with two sophomores and seven upperclassmen rounding out the squad. Injuries to vital players, coupled with others choosing not to return to the team, have further reduced the roster size and consequently forced Peters to make adjustments. With the departure of last year’s senior class, including Emilee Osagiede (‘12) and Lindsay Black (‘12), the Vikings lost vital talent. Despite these setbacks, the team members have managed to foster close bonds with one another. Injuries have taken their toll on the team’s performance and morale. Stephanie Allen (‘13) and Hope Crockett (‘14) both tore their anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs) before the start of the season, and are out for its entirety. The immediate impact of these injuries is the talent lost by having Allen and Crockett on the bench. Both were poised to become impact players. “[Stephanie] would be the best player,” Crockett said. “She would have been our point guard. She would have been the star of the team.” A secondary effect of this loss is the emotional strain it has caused the team. Peters laments the hard work both players put in and the tragedy of their missed seasons. “Hope worked really hard [in the offseason] to get herself [ready for the season],” Peters said. “She handled it the right way and for her to get injured is really sad. And of course for Steph, it’s her senior year. It’s just tragic.” For Crockett and Allen, being members of the team and not playing is nothing short of painful. However, they do not allow their injuries to detract from their connection to the team and do everything they can to contribute from the bench. “It’s really hard watching and not being able to contribute,” Crockett said. “It’s a little bit of torture, but it’s worth it because I can still be a part of [the team]. It’s still contributing, and it’s still connecting with my teammates and we have a great dynamic.” Matilda Warvne (‘13), Robin Bickford (‘13) and Abby Strong’s (‘15) choices to not play for Paly this season for various reasons after making the team has also reduced the roster size, but Peters believes that what matters more is that the remaining girls are committed to the team and to playing their best. “It takes a lot of sacrifice and effort to play on this team and if your heart’s not in it, then you’re making the right decision [to quit],” Peters said. “For us to be successful I think you need to have your heart and soul into this and give everything you have, and if you’re

FROM DOWNTOWN Forward Charlotte Allipate (‘14) takes a 3-pointer over a Gunn defender on Jan. 18. The Vikings lost 44-26 in their first meeting with the cross-town rival.

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

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


Starting lineup Annie Susco

Number: 33 Grad year: 2013 Position: Forward FT percentage: 100%

Josie Butler

Number: 34 Grad year: 2013 Position: Center Rebounds per game: 5.9

not feeling that you can do that, then we’d rather have them decide not to play than just go through the motions.” What this leaves is a dedicated core of girls willing to give anything for their team. This young group naturally comes with its own challenges and merits. For Alexis Harris (‘16), Siggi Bengston (‘16), Courtney Lovely (‘16) and Maddy Atwater (‘16), the freshmen playing their first seasons of varsity basketball, being thrust into starting roles and having to play against teams

Maddy Atwater

Number: 22 Grad year: 2017 Position: Guard Assists per game 1.5

Courtney Lovely

Number: 23 Grad year: 2017 Position: Guard Points per game 7.8

obviously Coco [Courtney] and Maddy have been great, filling in and trading off on point guard and Alexis has been a great presence down in the post area for us.” The team’s ability to improve and grow over the course of the season can be attributed to the friendships the players have nurtured over the course of the season. Instead of allowing the wide range in ages to alienate each other, the girls have grown closer, with every team member feeling included regardless of age. “The older girls definitely look out for us a

Charlotte Alipate

Number: 10 Grad year: 2014 Position: Forward 3-point percentage: 27%

that [the freshmen] all have each other, but at the same time we’re super friendly with them, it really helps the team on and off the court.” The team has experienced highs and lows this season, including clutch wins and close victories against the best teams in the league, as well as big losses such as that to cross-town rival Gunn on Feb. 9, a game which Paly lost 55-19. Peters cites the team’s successes and failures as products of the challenges it has faced. “[The team is] young and scrappy and

“For us to be successful I think you need to have your heart and soul into this and give everything you have.”- coach Scott Peters in the competitive De Anza division of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) is a type of pressure they have never before experienced. This has forced the younger girls to go through a condensed learning curve that typically would take place over a longer period of time. “[Playing at the varsity level] was a lot of pressure at first, but I’m kind of easing into it,” Atwater said. With such a large void to fill, the freshmen have had to step up in multiple areas. “[The freshmen are] filling a big hole,” Crockett said. “When Steph and I went out, we had two starting guards go out. So they had to fill that. We had Siggi come up … and she’s doing awesome. It’s been really nice to have her back [from her injury], and then

lot and we’re really close,” Atwater said. “The seniors don’t think that they’re the only ones who can talk. They ask us, [the freshmen], our opinions.” Captain Josie Butler (‘13) feels that this is the Paly team with which she has felt the closest, a sentiment shared by other teammates as well. In comparing her freshman experience playing varsity basketball to that of the freshmen on this year’s team, she attributes the inclusive nature of the team as crucial to its great chemistry. “I actually think that having such a younger team creates a really neat dynamic that I’ve never really had before,” Butler said. “When I was a freshman I was the only one on my varsity team. I wasn’t here, but it was completely different. I didn’t feel as close. Just the fact

they’re learning,” Peters said. “We have four freshmen and they’re playing. They play hard and they’re going through a learning curve, playing against varsity teams, so they’re getting some pressure on them. They’re having some ups and downs, but they’re fighting.” Though the team may not be getting the results it hoped for at the beginning of the season, the players are working their hardest to overcome the early adversity and to continue improving for next year. “I enjoy coaching this team,” Peters said. “They work so hard, and they want to be good, and they’re fighting for everything, and so when we have a tough game like tonight [on Jan. 25 against Gunn], it hurts. But we’re going to get back in practice tomorrow and get better.” <<<

FEBRUARY 2013


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Columns: The Last Word

REALtalk TE’O-ING

A

s a Bills fan, I have one, overwhelming fear about the 2013 season. No, it’s not that the Bills may lose every single game they play. Nor is it that the Bills may perform so poorly that they may move out of Buffalo. My crippling fear about the Bills’ year in 2013 is that they may draft Manti Te’o. You may be thinking to yourself, ‘Hold on a moment. Wouldn’t any level-headed fan be ecstatic that his or her team was in line to draft a Heisman candidate who led his team to an undefeated regular season and a spot in the BCS National Championship game?’ Not necessarily. After the dust settled on Notre Dame’s embarrassing performance in the National Championship, an incredibly bizarre and frankly embarrassing story broke from South Bend. Manti Te’o’s “girlfriend,” who allegedly died of leukemia during the same week that his grandmother passed away, never truly existed and was merely an online hoax. In the following weeks, Te’o claims to have been the victim of said hoax and Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick gave a tearful speech supporting Te’o. Along with a significant portion of the

I took time out of my busy schedule to have a conversation with Lennay Kekua, Manti Te’o’s alleged “girlfriend.” She was a real peach. country, I have an incredibly hard time believing this tall tale. Te’o has been quoted as saying his girlfriend, Leenay Kekua, was “the most beautiful girl he ever met.” Since then, we have found out that Te’o had never actually met this woman and that their relationship was “only online.” This is after his parents were quoted as saying the two had met at a 2009 Notre DameStanford game in Palo Alto. This is also after Te’o claimed that Kekua’s family gave him extensive support after her “death.” The holes in Te’o’s story and his admittance of these lies leaves us with two options. Te’o was either in on this hoax from the start, or after realizing it was all a hoax, he blew the story out of proportion in order to make a more convincing case for the Heisman trophy. Sure, I have issues believing that the middle linebacker at Notre Dame would have to resort to getting an online girlfriend, but the deluge of contradictory quotes and stories from the Te’o family leaves us with the conclusion that Manti Te’o is one thing and one thing only: a liar. Unfortunately, Te’o’s show of dishonesty is just another chapter to add to the recent laundry list of sports stars openly lying and deceiving the public. While in previous columns I defended incredibly talented players like Barry Bonds, I can do no such thing for the recent

When dishonesty at the highest level of athletic competition becomes all too common.

by Jonny Glazier

photography by Scotty Bara

events concerning Manti Te’o. Te’o’s deceit was simply in order to make an encapsulating story for his Heisman campaign and it was purely fueled by selfish motivation. Not to mention, Barry Bonds had game, and Te’o has proved through this hoax and his laughable performance against Alabama that he lacks game on and off the field. Every collegiate and professional athlete has been told that they are a role model to kids across the nation, so it is absolutely shocking to me that we see so many athletes lying about who they are and what they’ve done in order to give themselves an edge or keep themselves out of trouble. It’s time that athletes not only start acting responsibly, but tell the truth when they have had a lapse in judgement. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my childhood lies, it’s that you always end up at the truth eventually, so coming clean sooner rather later is immensely preferable. If athletes continue to openly lie about their lives to the media, soon everything they say or do will need to be put into question. As Te’o prepares for the 2013 NFL Draft, he’s been getting a polar reaction from the country. One side has poured their heart out to someone who they see as deceived while the other condemns his role in a deceitful hoax. I for one, am disgusted by Te’o’s selfish mindset and his disregard for his fans, teammates and school in his pursuit of a mere trophy. If by chance he is drafted by the Buffalo Bills, I will still be rooting for my team every Sunday, but I will show absolutely no support for #5 due to the unnerving lack of character he has displayed. The last thing that any NFL team would need is a locker room distraction and a dishonest teammate. If more information regarding the hoax surfaces, I may reconsider my position on this issue, although as of now, with the information we have, I can conclude that Te’o has been nothing but dishonest with the public about his life. But I can say one thing: Te’o is incredibly lucky his girlfriend didn’t exist, otherwise he may have had to suffer the ever so suave Brent Musburger ogle her on National Television. <<<

FEBRUARY 2013


VIKING ATHLETICS

CALENDAR 11

12

18

WEDNESDAY 13

FEBRUARY

Key:

Winter sports: Girls’ basketball Boys’ basketball Wrestling Girls’ soccer Boys’ soccer

TUESDAY

THURSDAY 14

v. B r o o k s i d e v. Cupertino 3:30 Christian 6:00 v. Cupertino 3:30 @ Aragon 3:30

19

20

21

Spring sports: Girls’ lacrosse Track and field Boys’ tennis

24

26

27

28

@ Leland 4:00 @ Los Altos 3:30

3

4

5

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

@ Saratoga 4:00

6 v. Lynbrook 3:30

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

15

saturday 16

v. Milpitas 6:15 v. Milpitas 7:45

22

23

CCS @ Independence 9:00

@ Los Altos 3:30

25

FRIDAY

7 v. Carlmont 3:30

v. Menlo Atherton 4:00 v. Cupertino 3:30 @ Saratoga 3:15

1

MARCH

MONDAY

sunday

Watch PALY’s exceptional athletes take on league and state rivals as they aim for SCVAL, CCS and state championships.

8

2 CIF STATE @ Bakersfield 9:00 Cal High Sports Tournament @ Fresno 8:00 9


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Palo Alto Center Clark Building 795 El Camino Real, Palo Alto 650-853-2943


The Viking: Volume 6, Issue 3  

The basketball issue

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