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Volume 1 Issue #4 March 2008 Staff List Editors-in-Chief Charlie Avis Nina Gertsvolf Peter Johnson Austin Smith Noah Sneider Steven Tran
Design Editor Noah Sneider
Staff Christine Chang John Christopherson Oliver Davies Liza Dernehl Oana Enache Adam Furlong Amanda Hohbach Ian Kelly Varun Kohli Lucy McComas Cassie Prioleau Ahna Rao Elizabeth Scott Greg Stewart Matthew Tracy Adam Zernik
Business Manager Steven Tran
Logo Design Nate James (Cleveland, OH)
Photo Manager Alek Milovidov Photo Staff Allen Au Michela Fossati-Ballani
Advisor Ellen Austin
Viking Palo Alto High School 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301 650-329-3837 Email contact: email@example.com Letters to the editor The Viking, a sports magazine published by the students in Palo Alto High Schoolâ€™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 magazineâ€™s audience. For more information about advertising with The Viking, please contact the The Viking by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 650-329-3837 for more information. Printing services The Viking is printed seven times a year by Fricke-Parks Press in Fremont, Calif.
March 2008 Volume I, Issue 4
SPRING SPORTS PREVIEWS
Everyone knows what happened to the Paly boys’ basketball team -- but how did it happen? The Viking investigates the series of events that caused the Vikings to forfeit most of their season. By Adam Zernik
26 Golf 27 Baseball 28 Softball 29 Boys’ Swimming 30 Girls’ Swimming 31 Track and Field 32 Girls’ Lacrosse 33 Badminton 34 Boys’ Tennis 35 Diving
39 Playing Rough
Junior Will Holder is well-known for his exploits on the gridiron and the baseball diamond. However, Holder is most comfortable on a differnt type of field -- the rugby pitch. By Ahna Rao
42 Caduca Libera
Senior Michela Fossati-Bellani set the CCS diving record in 2007. She is headed to USC on a diving scholarship. Next stop, a spot on the Italian National team for the 2012 Olympics. By Cassie Prioleau 4 | The Viking
Like swimsuits? Michela FossatiBellani has plenty for everyone...
What Went Wrong?
The Tour of California rolled through Palo Alto and brought cycling to the forefront
6 Letters to the
Say What By the Numbers Pop Culture Prom Dates Who’s Hot and Who’s Not 10 Q’s with Wade Hauser Inside the Mind of Peter Abrams
12 Snapshots 17 Paly Dance Company
19 Fencing 50 March Madness
45 Going Green
Paly does not offer a girls’ golf team, but for sophomore Alexandra Groetsema playing with the boys is not a problem. By Oana Enache
The Viking Bracket Predictions
52 Tour of California 59 Fantasy Baseball 60 Calendar 62 The Last Word
36 The Mathlete
Coach Jeff Billing left a high-paying job at Oracle to teach math and coach track and cross-country at Paly. He couldn’t be happier. By Matt Tracy and Oliver Davies
Missed an issue of The Viking? Want to re-read your favorite articles? Check out The Viking archives online at http:// voice.paly.net/viking
The Viking | 5
Letters to the editors Dear Editors, The article in the February edition on “The Forgotten Ones” is an uncommonly mature perspective on the dreams and losses that are inevitable in life. The article idea is original and the execution is flawless, a compelling combination of past mingled with present and primary source points of view. If we could extend the lesson from sports to our experience with college rejections, we’d trust that things work out. Successful people tend to make things happen rather than respond as passive victims. When a door closes, there’s always another great opportunity to find and seize. Ian Kelly writes an instructive article, and the featured sportsmen, Brian Karvelas, Brook Seaman, and Connor Baskauskas, truly are winners. – Mrs. Van Der Burg - Paly English Teacher Dear Editors, “I usually tell people I have an abusive lover, just to freak them out.” (Caitlin Watson, junior, printed in the winter issue of The Viking) Say what? I would hope for a bit more discretion among Viking editors when choosing what to print in a high school sports magazine. The statement above is an insensitive insult to all teenagers who have had no choice but to experience an abusive family member or friend in their lives. This flip remark, which is thrown out as a ‘funny’ reason for the many bruises on Watson’s body after a soccer game, seems to have been made and approved by people who are oblivious to true physical abuse. It is not a funny line. It is offensive, and probably is more appropriate for a late-night TV talk show host on cable rather than a public high school journalism project. The Viking owes an apology to its readers. Not everything said is fit to print. – Renate Steiner - Paly Parent The Viking magazine apologizes for publishing comments on abuse in a satirical tone. We will try to prevent such insensitivity in future editions of The Viking –The Viking Editors
6 | The Viking
Send feedback on The Viking issue #4 to email@example.com. All feedback is appreciated and most likely will be published based on the lack of comments for this issue (thank you Mrs. Steiner and Mrs. Van Der Burg for the emails). If you’re not an athlete, this is the best way to get your name in the magazine (other than creating some weird sport so we can write a feature on it).
Administration and coaches handled situation well Last month, Central Coast Section (CCS) forced the Paly basketball team to forfeit 15 games and their playoff hopes due to the ineligibility of one of its players. Principal Jackie McEvoy and Athletic Director Earl Hansen found discrepancies in senior Ed Hall’s transcript, and self-reported the issue to CCS. The Viking believes that while it is the administration’s primary role to thoroughly check the eligibility of its students, and they are at fault to this extent, McEvoy and Hansen made the ethical and professional move by promptly reporting the situation to CCS. The Viking commends the administration, Diepenbrock, Hall and the Paly basketball team for handling this unfortunate incident with class and integrity. When Hall first moved to California in November, a few things should have happened. First, the administration should have explicitly asked Hall if he had completed eight semesters of high school education. The administration should be aware of the foreign school systems, and given the importance of the graduate exams in Austra-
lia, more questions should have been asked about Hall’s high school progress. Second, the administration should have requested for Hall’s transcript from the very beginning, and should not have allowed him to participate in basketball until they were sure he was eligible. While this was a unique situation where certain circumstances made it difficult to follow normal protocol, it is the administrations responsibility to be thorough, and these foibles led to this tragedy. Despite these mistakes, The Viking believes that Paly showed its true colors in the aftermath of this incident. From Hansen initially reporting his suspicions, to McEvoy going to CCS, the administration and athletic department showed great responsibility in its handling of the situation. We owned up to our mistakes and did not twist the facts or cover anything up. And afterwards, instead of pointing fingers, the administration came together to decipher what went wrong, and how to best approach similar situations in the future. This was an extremely unfortunate incident, one that was preventable, but the school ultimately took steps forward in the weeks following. The Viking | 7
By the Numbers
“I started fencing because I went to Pirate Camp.” —Nathan Wilen (Fencing, So.)
33-1Combined score of
the Paly Baseball team’s first three (brutal) losses.
Making a Point, pg. 20
“I’m not going to lie, I’m a big, big chicken” —Michela Fossati-Bellani (Diving,Sr.)
78 Senior Mike Scott’s
Caduca Libera, pg. 46
personal high jump record in inches.
“I had no idea that the Gunn game would be our last.” —Nick Robinson (Basketball, Jr.)
23 Losses (in 24 games) for the Paly Badminton team in the last two seasons.
Whose Fault, pg. 22
Sophomore Hanna Brody
“When I started playing on the boys’ team, the guys stepped up their games, because they’re not going to let a girl beat them.” —Alexandra Groetsma (Golf, So.)
“It’s my game face.”
43,452 Meters the
Going Green, pg. 48
Have funny photos of you or your friends playing sports? Send them to theviking08@ gmail.com and the best one will be published in the next issue.
Paly varsity swim team has swam this season. The equivalent of 27 miles.
“I have never really figured out how many people are on my team.” —Will Holder (Rugby, Jr.) Playing Rough, pg. 46
Pop Culture Grid Paly athlete and sport
Future Child’s Name
Favorite Spice Girl
Dream Tattoo and Location
Mia Lattanzi (Track and Field, Sr.)
I don’t know
A sun on my back
A sleep over with my friends
Unicorn on my lower back
Would I have to?
Not going to prom
I don’t know
The Asian One
A car on my arm
I don’t know
Tommy Dalton (Baseball, Sr.) Erin Kiefhaefer (Tack and Field, Fr.) Ivan Zhou (Badminton, So.) Helene Zahoudanis (Lacrosse, Jr.) 10 | The Viking
(Most Valuable Possession)
Not a really big fan of tattoos My boyfriend No comment
Most Creative Prom Invites Paly athletes share with The Viking how they asked their dates to prom.
Pierce Marchant (Varsity Golf,
Jr.) “Basically I made a vase in glass blowing and put it on her doorstep with a sign on her doorstep and flowers in the vase.”
Kushal Tantry (Varsity Tennis, Sr.) “I had signs down Newell that said ‘Will’, ‘You’, ‘Go to’, ‘Prom’, ‘With’, and I was holding the ‘Me’ with roses, and her friend drove her down the street .” Dom Powell (Varsity Basketball, Sr.) “I had one of her friends take her to take a friends car and there was a note and a little animal on the car with a sign leading to the track. Then there were more little animals (which is kind of an inside joke) leading around the snack bar area and then there was an arrow and I was standing there.” Steven Burk (Varsity Baseball, Jr.) “I took her out to a nice dinner and then we came back [to my house] and I had posters and balloons that said ‘Prom’ all over my room.”
Liv Jensen Jensen recently broke the Central Coast Section record by .1 seconds. This put her at ease to break her goal come the CCS meet in May. Jensen tied the record last year. Kelly Jenks Struck out fourteen in a complete game performance. In her 2nd year as a varsity starter, Jenks is a key component to the Vikes’ success. Palo Alto Golf
PAC 10 Refs UCLA was handed two victories on a silver platter. In back to back games against Stanford and Cal two contraversial calls were made in the last seconds of the games. Paly Baseball Paly Baseball was out-scored 33-1 in their first three games with their only run coming from solo home run hit by sophomore Scott Witte. Palo Alto Badminton Paly Badminton is looking to make The Palo Alto Varsity golf team has pulled off a string of victories a miraculous comeback after sufto tee off the 2008 season includ- fereing two rough seasons the past ing non-league victories over both two years. The team has lost 23 of Los Gatos (who they lost to last their last 24 matches, giving them year) and Grenada High Schools. the worst record to ever grace Paly High. Bay Area Baseball Palo Alto Girls Lacrosse Looks like it will be a long year by After monthes of debate, girls lacrosse has finally made their long the bay, with both Oakland and San anticipated debut. The team had an Francisco struggling in spring trainexcellent showing at tryouts and ing. Many experts have projected both with large teams, the future of Paly teams to finish at the bottom of their respective divisions. Lax is looking bright.
Sung Kim (Varsity Swimming, Sr.) “I bought hella candles and I set them up in front of her house with a fat heart and a question mark.” Dan Schwartz (Varsity Tennis, Jr.) “We went out to a nice dinner and at the end the waiter brought out tiramisu that said ‘Prom’ on it in chocolate sauce, with some roses. I actually had a few other ideas, but I’ll have to save some for next year.”
photo by Alek photo Milovidov by Charlie Avis
BUTTERFLY BEAUTY Amanda Wong powers through her 50-yard butterfly in the 200yard medley relay at the Spring Kickoff Invitational. Wong helped to lead the Lady Vikes to a smooth win over Kings Academy, Los Altos l, Lynbrook, and Wilcox. The Viking | 11
Paly and Mountain View runners take off from the starting line in a March 6th meet at the Paly track. The boysâ€™ track and field team won the meet by a final score of 80-47. Photo by Alek Milovidov
Scott Witte Martha Hauser Gaby Cahill
as told to John Christopherson
We asked Palyâ€™s own Varsity baseball player Wade Hauser 10 Qâ€™s about himself, and then went to two
friends and his mother
Who knows Wade best?
Best body part
Scooter wheel color
Does Wade look at girls?
The 1st pokemon movie
1990 Volvo station wagon
Sophomore Varsity baseball player
Open seven days a week Locations: 1850 El Camino Real 3740 El Camino Real Menlo Park, CA 94027 Palo Alto, CA 94306 (650) 321-8227 (650) 843-0643 www.celiasrestaurants.com 14 | THE VIKING
Gaby Cahill Friend
1990 Volvo station wagon
WANT TO ADVERTISE? Please contact The Viking at firstname.lastname@example.org
Inside the Mind
BY IA N K E LLY
ON ATTENDING STANFORD UNIVERSITY It feels great to be going to Stanford. My goal has always been to go to Stanford and play baseball. I know its going to be hard, but I am looking forward to the day I will hear my name called at Sunken Diamond while wearing the cardinal and white. I’m just going to keep working on my game, and try to get in the lineup as soon as I am ready to compete at the Division One level. I know there are a lot of haters out there, saying I’m too small to be a catcher at that level and stuff like that, but I let that go over my head and use it as motivation. ON THE BASEBALL TEAM’S RECENT LACK OF SUCCESS I believe that the baseball teams’ lack of success has been a mixture of different ingredients. For one, in my four years at Paly and my three on varsity, I have seen three coaching changes. I believe that the past two years, there was no real set program, and the entire program was very disorganized, from every standpoint. I am not at all trying to bash Coach Joel or Coach Jefferson, but I think during my sophomore and junior year, the players, coaches, and boosters and people around the community were on completely different pages as to where the program was, where it was going, and the players it was going to produce. ON THE “REAL”, “AMERICAN” SPORTS I would like to clear this up. American sports like baseball and football outrank COMMUNIST ones like soccer. Now baseball is the heart and soul of America. Baseball involves thought, athleticism, the skill of chewing seeds and other things, and concentration. Soccer is just, well, hoot. Baseball is to America like hairy armpits are to French girls. ON HIS FUNNIEST TEAMMATE Definitely Kevin Johnson, he is the man. KJ, Tyger [Pederson], and I have really bonded, being that we are the only black kids on the team. [Author’s Note: Despite his objections to the contrary, Peter Abrams is not actually black ]. I love KJ because
Peter Abrams of
Photography by Alek Milovidov we have talks that include the words, rogue, EPA, geesin, and hey gurl, shake that a**! ON HIS IDEAL GIRL Gina Jaqua. ON GINA She is the most beautiful person I have met in body, mind, and soul and I love her and think the world of her. She inspires me to be a better person in life. I think that is enough for this magazine. ON HIS MUSICAL TALENTS I actually have not laid down any raps in the past year. I have been kind of out of the business, but I might make a return with my new album coming out this fall. It is called @#*&^*% that A**. I started rapping at the age of six to make money for my family. I was living in the Bronx and the time, and one of my partners in crime, Busta Rhymes taught me a few things. [Author’s Note: Peter Abrams has never actually lived in the Bronx, nor has he ever met Busta Rhymes]. I just think the industry is getting diluted with real dumb rap, like Sean Kingston. That fat ugly guy needs to stop ruining hip-hop. I think more people should listen to Common, the Track Boiz, and Dr. Dre. ON HIS OBSESSION WITH AFRICA You know, I really have no answer to this. I just am always reading up on the current news there. I just find the cultures, foods, and history of all the sub-Saharan countries to be very in interesting. I love the music too, I must admit I have some Nigerian rap on my iPod and I listen to Ethiopian pop music once in a while.
Senior Peter Abrams is the starting catcher for the varsity baseball team. In addition to the accolades for his success in the sport, Abrams is also known for his talents in rapping. He will attend Stanford University next year to play baseball.
15 | The Viking
Dance On! BY LUC Y MCCO MA S Palo Alto High School senior Kati Dahm is an avid dancer in and out of the Paly community. Her prior year, Dahm realized she was unhappy with the dance team’s recent development and knew a couple other girls who also felt the same way. The changing style was not working out for many of the girls. There was controversy within the group and Dahm knew that the team was disintegrating. The Paly Dance Company, otherwise known as PDC, started back in 2006 when Dahm, senior Ruthie Ryan and Paly ‘07 graduate Rachel Williams decided to try and form a second dance team. “We started when a few of the girls from the Dance Team and I sat down with some of our parents,” said Dahm. “We decided not to try out for the Dance Team.” Their original plan was to form an independent dance team, but because of complicated logistics, the group had to classify themselves as a club instead. Although there are many occupied leadership roles, Dahm stands with her position, which is respected by many of the girls. “She is always on top of things always making sure we can succeed to the best of our ability,” sophomore Chelsea Brunett said. In addition to Dahm, junior Alyssa Burton is also seen as an
Photos courtesy of Sara Connolly important aspect of the team. “Alyssa is really good at dancing so she is always really helphelp ful,” Brunett said. Run and organized by coach Hilary McDaniel, the cheerbased dance team was focused mainly on competitions. The team was practicing under strict times and spent many weekends traveling for competitions. “I remember going to competitions almost every weekend when I was on the dance team, and having little time to do anything else,” Dahm said. “It was fun because we got to go to LA and Las Vegas, but I couldn’t imagine doing the same kind of thing junior and senior year.” Most of the girls on the dance team were already focused on outside dance groups, and were involved in competitions and performances as well. Many members of the team were looking for a more relaxed environment where they could entertain and perform in front of their peers. “We wanted a group where we could essentially just dance for fun,” Dahm said. “For dancers, performing for people is what we love to do.” The club is focused on performing at Paly events such as The Viking | 17
Spirit Week, but has recently broken out of the Paly community and performed for charity groups as well. “We just did a fundraiser with the Los Altos Dance Team called Beat the Heat, which was a dance show that raised money and awareness about global warming,” Dahm said. Of course since the team’s initial creation, there were hard feelings, but they were eventually able to resolve their issues. “The team was sad, but there was no real conflict between the
try out for the team.” PDC has become very popular within the dance community at Paly. “The other team is the official Paly Dance Team,” Dahm said. “However, they had only three people this year and PDC had thirteen at one point, so I would say that is a key difference.” The team is overflowing with members who put in the energy and enjoy being part of the team. The members of PDC want to
“If you want to perform and represent the school, then try out for the dance team,” McEvoy said. girls,” senior and member of the official dance team Amanda Miller perform for their peers and be part of the Paly community. said. “There’s no problem with people developing clubs,” McEvoy In contrast to the dance team, PDC has few demands and a said. “I think it’s great, but during halftime there are lots of rules, light practice schedule. The team practices once every weekend so if they want to perform, they should try out for the team.” in an open and enforced manner because of their unofficial status. The problem McEvoy and other administrators have with the However, besides the weekly dance team is that they are practices, many participants not an official representatake outside classes as well. tion of the school. “Members of PDC are “It’s not a policy of the also encouraged to take outschool, but it’s just like the side ballet classes so that they basketball team, if you want can learn the entire routine,” to play you need to try out, Dahm said. “The majority of otherwise you can’t,” McEthe team dances more than voy said. “If you want to five hours a week outside of perform and represent the PDC. school, then try out for the “One of the first probdance team.” lems PDC encountered ocAlthough many felt as curred during this year’s Spirthough McEvoy was the it Week, a time which most main reason for their probstudents think of school unity lems, no administrators and representing their class were really willing to help along with their school. As the team. the group was getting ready “A lot of it wasn’t reto perform, they got news ally [McEvoy], it was weird from principal McEvoy. it was all being done in our “We had allegedly been disfavor for no reason,” given club status, and we were Ryan said. PDC has faced getting ready for our first per- PERSEVERANCE: Despite not being able to perform at many conflicts regarding the formance at the rally on Fri- Paly, the paly dance company performs around Palo Alto. administration and has now day,” Dahm said. “However, decided to put their faith in McEvoy flat out said we couldn’t perform.” the hands of their peers. Although at first they were faced with a couple of problems, “We now talk to ASB and they help us out, so we stopped with help from parents, PDC was eventually allowed to perform. talking to the administration because they wouldn’t listen and we “It’s not fair, every group at Paly should be able to perform and felt like they didn’t even want us to be performing,” Ryan said. should not be having this many problems,” Brunett said. Despite the feeling of never-ending problems, the team will With a new year came a new set of rules along with a new prin- continue on with their plans of being a part of the Paly community. cipal. Unfortunately, Jacqueline McEvoy, the new principal, was Although the two leaders and original founders are graduating this not as open to the idea of two dance teams as previous principal year, Paly Dance Company has dedicated dancers in all grades and Scott Laurence had been. will be welcoming many talented freshmen who dance with many “Things that govern teams are different than things that govern of the girls at Dance Connection which is their studio team. clubs,” McEvoy said. “We don’t have the venue for all the clubs to “Next year will be fine, all the juniors are really driven and perform during halftime, so if they want to perform, they need to can make it happen if they want it,” Ryan said. <<< 18 | The Viking
making a point Features
By Varun Kohli Photography by Alek Milovidov
The Viking | 19
Features students, the foil is not just Tothesome wrapping around your lunch; it is
the weapon of choice. At least, it is for the fencers at Palo Alto High School. Although Paly does not have a fencing team, many students love to take part in the fast-paced sport of fencing. There are currently 32 clubs participating in the local Bay Cup tournaments, but even with all the fencing activity in the Bay Area, the rules of the sport are virtually unknown to Paly students. Fencing is widely regarded as sword fighting, but some people misinterpret the sport. “I know some people who thought it was actual sword fighting, with sharp blades like you see in movies, or in the medieval time period,” senior Jillian Liu said. “But it obviously isn’t or someone would die every single time they fenced.” Actually, fencing is a very safe sport. Every fencer must wear protective clothing, the most important part being the mask. Because of all the protection in fencing, injuries beyond welts and bruises are not common. “The worst injury I’ve ever gotten was a bruise that bled a little,” sophomore fencer Sasha Seraia said. Fencers are divided into their different events; foils fence foils, sabres fight sabres and epees face off against epees. The blades, contrary to popular belief, are not real swords. Foils, one of the three main types of blades, are thin blades with a blunted tip. All modern foils have sensors that detect contact with the opponent and send the message to a scoreboard, which lights up. The flexible blades allow the fencers to hit their opponents without having to worry about injury. The flexibility also allows some foil fencers to bend the foil around blocks, known as parries, and score a point. Getting hooked on fencing can start in many ways. Jillian Liu’s fencing career began at age 12 in April 2002. “I actually started out because my brother fenced,” Liu said. “But then I thought it was more enjoyable than he ever did and I continued on.” Currently, Liu fences foil as a member of the Massialas Fencing Foundation, or the M-Team for short. Liu’s life revolves around fencing, and because of her dedication to the sport, she 20 | The Viking
sons I do so well. “ Most fencers are used to parrying the blade away from them, but because the blade comes from the other side when fencing lefties, they could end up parry the blade towards themselves if they do not adjust properly. Berman has found success fencing foil at a competitive level as he recently took part in the Junior Olympics. Already qualified for this year’s National Tournament, Berman is currently ranked 44th in the country in his age group, Youth 14, according to the USFA (United States Fencing Association). Berman has also done well at a regional level in the Bay Cups, often placing in the top three spots. Sophomore Sasha Seraia fences for recreation, but she too has taken a love to it ever since her parents steered her towards it. “My parents were the ones that pushed me into the sport, but it wasn’t something that I didn’t want to do,” Seraia said. She fences regularly, and does not regret her decision to join the sport at all. “I fence for the hell of it,” Seraia said. “Also, you get to poke people with sticks.” Seraia finds the sport physically taxing because she fences with exerciseinduced asthma. Because of this, she finds FIERCE “Personally, [fencing] is the most in- the greatest satisfaction when she makes tense sport there is, because everything hap- a good point. There were many different factors inpens at the same time,” Senior Jillian Liu said. volved in sophomore Nathan Wilen’s decision to fence. has done well at many regional, and even “I started fencing because I went to national tournaments. She has been success- Pirate Camp here at Stanford after fifth ful at local Bay Cup tournaments and placed grade,” said Wilen. “In Pirate Camp we seventh at the 2007 nationals in Miami. She did a variety of fun games, arts and crafts also placed seventh and thirteenth in differ- and we had one day of fencing. I thought ent divisions at the North American Cup ‘Wow! That’s cool,’ so I tried it. It was re“A” this year. Next year she will continue to ally fun when I started.” fence for the Yale Bulldogs as a freshman. Wilen continued his involvement for Like Liu, many fencers begin after be- a few years, fencing in tournaments and ing pushed towards the sport by friends or placing in the middle of the pack. What refamily. In the same way, freshman Noah ally kept him going was the satisfaction of Berman was introduced to the sport by his doing well. friends in fifth grade and since then, he has “I remember this one point I got,” been an avid fencer. Berman’s long time Wilen said. “It was 14-14 and the next love for sword fighting and good fortune point would win it. He basically lunged with friendly coaches have kept him in the and charged at me, (called a fleche), and sport for all these years. did a jumping dive at me. I ducked it and Noah has a big advantage over most flicked him as he went across. Probably the fencers as a lefty, he can interfere with their coolest point I’ve ever gotten.” rhythms easily. Unfortunately, Wilen eventually quit “Being a lefty is advantageous, because because he felt outclassed. when you fence a righty they aren’t exactly “There were all these kids who were used to it,” Berman said. “It’s one of the rea- really good at fencing and it was all they
Features did,” Wilen said, “For me it was just one of many activities.” Becoming a good fencer is not easy. Natural talent must be polished through
Because of the vast differences between beginning of each point, the two fencers start four meters away from each other un- the different types of blades and rules for til they start. Then they fence until the next each of the types, switching between styles contact. If a point is scored they go back to is uncommon. “I tried out epee a long time ago with a couple of my teammates,” Liu said of trying to fence in the new style. “I also think it’s more of a ‘waiting’ weapon because it has different rules to it. In fact, there are none at all - if you get a light on, then it’s a point. So, because I’m more of a fastpaced fencer, I’d get hit before I got [to the opponent], and the right-ofway of foil doesn’t apply at all. I think it was most difficult because of the random transition into a completely different weapon, so I wasn’t used to anything that Photo courtesy of Stewart Berman a fencer requires to be FOILED Freshmen Noah Berman (left) scores a point on opposing fencer, Jason Chang (right), at good at epee.” the Junior Olympics Qualifiers in 2007. Berman won his first gold medal ever in the tournament. Determining the winner of a match depends on the round or competition. many hours of practice during many dif- the last position, but if the first contact does In many tournaments, fencers qualify for ferent practices a week. not score a point, then they start in en garde the elimination round by taking part in a “I practice about 15 hours a week,” Ber- position, which is basically where they just pool round consisting of 5-point matches. man said. “I also have private lessons and begin fencing from the exact same point “There’s a round robin of about 6-8 tournaments every week.” people depending on the size of the tourwhere the contact was made. Even though fencing is a big part of Foil, the most common type, is also the nament,” Berman said. “Then depending these practices, fencers also work on form most complicated. Points are scored when on how you do, you make the elimination and general strength. a fencer lands a successful hit on the oppo- round. Then for nationals, there are quali“The exercises and footwork that we do nent’s torso with the tip of their foil. But, fiers to even make it to the tournament. If are basically combinations of everything special rules come into play when there is a you get in the top 32 at one of those it enfencing involves,” Liu said. “For example, tie hit. Then “right-of-way” rules come into ables you to qualify.” rather than simple lunging and advancing play. “Right-of-way” states that the person Anyone can take up fencing. With no and retreating we would do two advances who starts the attack will get the point in a real physical requirements like many other forward, three retreats, double advance tie unless the defender has parried and ri- popular sports, becoming involved is easy and then balestro (where we jump forward) posted, or countered. because of all the available clubs in this lunge. We stretch, run, skip, jump and all The epee is a much stiffer blade, with a area. Fencing’s simplicity makes it a very that jazz. We sometimes do workout ac- larger bell guard. Again, fencers can only accessible spot to everyone. tivities like pushups, all the variations of score points when they strike the opposite “Personally, [fencing] is the most intense pushups, and wall sits.” fencer with the tip of the blade, but unlike sport there is, because everything happens Then, after they have done their work- foil, there are no right-of-way rules and the at the same time,” Liu said. “Fencers all outs and warm-ups, they can get to the entire body is open for scoring points. need to think ahead, be constantly watchfencing. Fencing has three different types Sabre, the third event uses a stiffer blade ing the other opponent, and simultaneousof events, each named after the three types than foil, but a more flexible blade than in ly coordinate their footwork and handwork of weapons used, all scored differently. In epee. Sabre differs from the other blades in in order to succeed. And it all happens exeach of them, two fencers face off on “the that the whole blades can be used to score. tremely quickly. For non-fencers watching strip”, which is the fourteen by two meter “Right-of-way” rules also apply to the sa- the sport, they might think it’s boring bearea that the fencers must stay in. At the bre. cause they don’t understand it.” <<< The Viking | 21
Wrong? text by Adam Zernik | layout by Charlie Avis
22 | The Viking
he Palo Alto High School boys’ basketball team’s season ended abruptly last month when the Central Coast Section (CCS) forced the team to forfeit 11 wins and prematurely end its season due to the ineligibility of one of its players. On February 16, 2008, school officials notified members of the team that all 15 games in which senior Ed Hall had participated were to be forfeited, changing the team’s record from 16-8 to a dismal 5-19, and thus disqualifying it from the CCS playoffs. The news came less than 16 hours after a momentous 50-26 victory against rival Gunn High School, one which had significantly lifted the team’s morale just a week before the start of the playoffs. Senior captain Mike Scott had recently overcome an ankle injury that had been bothering him all season, and was eager to get back out on the court at full strength. “I could not believe it was really over,” Scott said. “I was ready for practice on Monday. With my ankle finally cooperating with me, I was ready to step up my game for CCS.” The other players shared similar emotions. “My first reaction was a sense of frustration and disbelief,” junior point guard Nick Robinson said. “I had no idea that the Gunn game would be our last and I did not want to think our season was over. Once I started seeing kids break down, I started to also.” The occurrence was the first time in school history that an athletic team had forfeited a game due to player ineligibility, according to Paly Athletic Director Earl Hansen. It seemed implausible that Paly, of all schools, could somehow be cheating, abusing the system or recruiting players, but the rumors all arose. In the midst of uproar from the Palo Alto community and confusion within the school, the questions of whose fault it was and how it could happen here inevitably surfaced. From an outsider’s perspective, the problem appeared to revolve around a transfer student who was ineligible to play in CCS because he had already completed eight semesters of high school eligibility. After the student played in the first 15
games of the season, the Paly administration discovered the problems with his transcript and had him benched for the duration of the season. The day after the last league game, the coach notified the rest of the players that their season was over and that, simply put, there would be no playoffs. In truth, what had happened was far more complex. To use coach Diepenbrock’s words, what had hit Paly was “a perfect storm” of errors that led to an improbable catastrophe. CIF Bylaw Article 20: 204 reads as follows: “A student who first enters the 9th grade of any school following the student’s completion of the 8th grade in any school may
ball team because his exchange program did not fall into the category that allows students to play sports at their new school. “There are only so many approved programs,” Paly athletic director Earl Hansen explained. “If your transfer is not done by one of the approved programs, you are not eligible to play.” Hall still did as much as he could to be involved with the junior varsity team. “Since I was not officially allowed to play, I just practiced with the team,” Hall said. “It was a bit frustrating, but still fun.” Hall then returned to Australia to continue his high school education. It wasn’t until two years later that Hall had another opportunity to move to the United States, this time with his whole family and with the intention of staying permanently. “My mom is American, from the Bay Area in fact, and she decided that she wanted to try living here so that I could have the real American high school experience,” Hall said. “Since she is from the Bay Area, it was always going to be somewhere around here and we have quite a bit of family here, so we decided to move to Palo Alto.” His mother’s decision to move to Palo Alto spurred Hall to contact Paly basketball coach Peter Diepenbrock early on to ask about playing his senior year. “I already had a relationship with Diepenbrock; we knew each other, and I told him I was going to move to Paly,” Hall said. “I asked him if there was any chance I could maybe try out for the team and he said, ‘If you move here, then these are the rules you have to follow and your whole family needs to move here and then, yes, you could try out for the team.’ It seemed simple enough, so we followed the instructions and moved here.” According to Hall, he and his mother made sure to contact the CCS commissioner to ensure the transfer went smoothly and legally, in addition to contacting Diepenbrock, . “I am not fully aware of what CCS said because my mom took care of that, but we thought we had everything [covered],” Hall said. The Hall family then moved to Palo Alto in November of 2007.
“I had no idea that the Gunn game would be our last,” Junior Nick Robinson said. “Once I started seeing kids break down, I started to also.” be eligible for athletic competition during a maximum period of time that is not to exceed eight consecutive semesters following the initial enrollment in the 9th grade of any school, and said eligibility must be used during the student’s first eight consecutive semesters of enrollment at that school or any other school.” In other words, a student cannot play a sport for a high school in the state of California after completing eight consecutive semesters of high school. The punishment for doing so includes, but is not limited to, the forfeiture of all games in which the player participated. Unfortunately for Paly, such was the case and such was the punishment. But the matter at hand – one involving an Australian transfer student – began more than two years previously. In 2004, 14-year-old Ed Hall of Perth, Australia decided to take part in an exchange program that would allow him to live with his relatives in America while he attended public school for a semester. The sophomore spent his semester attending Paly simply because it was the allotted high school for his relatives’ household location. Although he liked the school, Hall was annoyed to learn that he was unable to play for Paly’s basket-
The Viking | 23
close. Although summer was approaching, Ed technically had not graduated from high school. The Hall family’s rationale for the move’s timing was that the Australian high school exit exam is taken at the end of the student’s senior year, and Ed had not yet taken it. Therefore he was still in high school. “I arrived here in November,” Hall said. “I did not graduate in Australia but it was near the end. I did not take the exit exams. It is different because in Australia you need to take the exit exams your senior year to get a high school diploma.” Due to the awkward timing of Hall’s move, his high school transcript was not available to the Paly administration upon his arrival. The school did not worry about the lack of a transcript at first because the entire Hall family lived in a household inside the school’s attendance area, giving Ed the right to attend the school. “To get into a school, you do not need FRUSTRATION Head coach Peter Diepenbrock can only watch in a transcript,” Paly principal Jackie McEvoy frustration as his playoff-bound team’s season fell apart. said. “Although we always ask for transcripts, it is a student’s right to attend a public school if However, Diepenbrock’s account of what had happened goes his family lives within the school’s attendance area. If we do not farther back. He recalls an email he had received in the spring of get one, we can threaten to put the student in freshman classes, 2007 in which Hall’s mother asked if Hall could play basketball but in this case we did not feel it was necessary because he was at Paly later that year if he lived with his cousins. already a student at Paly [in previous years].” “He said when he was here a few years ago that he wanted to Shortly after his arrival, Hall was officially a member of the come back,” Diepenbrock said. “Last spring I got an email from Paly basketball team. Although he only played a minor role in the his mother saying that he wanted to come back.” team’s success, he was popular amongst the players. Upon receiving the email and running the transfer by CCS, “Ed is a real popular kid, one of the centers of the team socially Diepenbrock realized that there was the potential for problems and in terms of chemistry,” Diepenbrock said. with the transfer that Hall’s mother had suggested. Hall proceeded to play through the first 16 games of the sea“I called the commissioner of CCS to see if it was okay,” son, appearing in 15 of them and averaging less than five minutes Diepenbrock said. “She saw a couple of problems because origi- per game, while the team accumulated a respectable 11-5 record. nally he was going to be living with cousins. I told his mother that It was at this point in the season, the end of the first semester, it was not going to work out.” when Hansen made the routine eligibility check. As he was going The CCS officials foresaw problems with the transfer. Hall through the rosters of each team to check the players’ grades, he could not play a CCS sport unless his entire family moved to Palo noticed that there was no documentation for Ed Hall. Alto and that it appeared he would have already graduated high “When I asked the question to see if his [Hall’s] grades were school by the time he enrolled at Paly. eligible, I found that there was no paperwork for him,” Hansen “He was going to graduate high school, and obviously he said. “When that happened, Mr. Diepenbrock and I started digwouldn’t have been able to come here if he did that,” Diepen- ging a little deeper, and at that point, you just have to do the right brock said. thing.” Diepenbrock recalls Hall’s mother’s determination to have the Hansen immediately notified the front office, which instructed transfer sorted out. coach Diepenbrock to bench Hall indefinitely as a safety mea“His mother really wanted it to work out, so she contacted the sure. CCS commissioner herself,” Diepenbrock said. “Then she got It became clear that Hall did not have grades for the first seback to me and said the problem was going to be solved because mester because he had arrived so late in the semester that his he was not going to graduate, and the whole family was going to counselor had directed his teachers to begin giving him grades at move.” the beginning of second semester. At that point, Diepenbrock acknowledged that the move would “When I first arrived at school, the guidance counselor said, be acceptable under the laws of CCS and that Hall would be eli- ‘You’ve arrived here too late in the semester and it will just be a gible to play for Paly the following season. burden for your teachers to re-teach you all the material, so what When the Hall family moved from Australia to Palo Alto in will happen is that you will just start getting grades at the beginNovember 2007, the Australian school year was coming to a ning of the second semester,’” Hall clarified. “That is where the 24 | The Viking
problem actually arose. Diepenbrock talked to her later and she admitted to him that she had made a mistake. Shortly after the confusion arose, however, Hall’s transcript arrived from Australia to provide answers. After a detailed examination of the transcript by Paly’s front office, McEvoy noticed that Hall had likely technically completed eight full semesters, although he did not graduate. McEvoy then reported the issue to CCS. “When you find an error in eligibility, you absolutely have to self-report,” McEvoy said. “The consequences of not self-reporting as soon as a problem is found can be detrimental to the entire athletic department’s future.” Hall sat out every game after a 49-52 loss to Saratoga on January 25, 2008 until the final game, a home blowout victory against Gunn. Meanwhile, CCS tried to make sense of Hall’s Australian transcript. According to McEvoy, CCS took every precaution to ensure that Paly was treated fairly. “CCS was so careful in dealing with the situation and so thrown off by the Australian transcript that they hired out a company that had experts on Australian transcripts,” McEvoy said. Unfortunately, CCS came to the consensus that Hall was indeed ineligible to play for Paly, and that the punishment would have to be the forfeiture of all the games in which he took part. Diepenbrock first broke the news to the Hall family. “That morning [February 16], Diep came over and met at my house before he met with the team,” Hall explained. “He came to my place and had a chat with my parents and me personally before he met the team. We did not go to the team meeting.” Although Hall was ready for the news, he was understandably disappointed with the outcome. “We were all very upset but the main thing he emphasized was that there was just a miscommunication between the school, CCS, and us,” Hall said. “It was just an unfortunate situation that we thought we had handled, but we had not.” After he had spoken with the Hall family, Diepenbrock made his way to the Paly gym, where he had arranged a mandatory meeting for players and parents. “That night, after the Gunn game, we knew something was up because Diep told us there was a mandatory meeting the next morning,” Mike Scott said. “Everyone, parents included, was sitting quietly and waiting for what Hansen, our principal and Diep had to say. They took us through all that was violated. Parents were outraged. Players were in awe.” The players, however, did not take their anger out on Hall, whom they knew had not intentionally done anything wrong. “I was very surprised how the team took it,” Hall said. “Honestly, I didn’t expect the team to be okay with it but they were very supportive. Even the seniors were very supportive and just great about it. They did not hold a grudge or anything. They were really good.” Instead, the players looked toward the adults in the situation who were supposed to have thoroughly figured out the transfer before going through with it. “I think Diep did as much as he could have, but I do not know the real details of the situation,” Nick Robinson said. “However, if you had to blame anyone in the situation it would probably be the administration.”
McEvoy took note of the players’ concern. “When something like this transfer happens, it is the student’s responsibility to do their schoolwork, take the adults’ advice, and nothing more,” McEvoy said. “The adults are fully in charge of taking care of the transfer details.” Looking past the meticulous details of the situation and moving on from finding someone to blame, what must be remembered is the tragedy of the 11 players who only wanted a chance to compete to the best of their ability, and who had the very real possibility of a successful season taken away. For the four seniors graduating this spring, there was no opportunity to experience a memorable playoff run. Those who still have one or two years left
“Honestly, I didn’t expect the team to be okay with it but they were very supportive and just great about it. They did not hold a grudge or anything. They were really good.” ~ Ed Hall
to play will have a reason to make the most of every game. However, according to Robinson, the team will have to forget about the mishap to achieve future success. “This situation is past me,” Robinson said. “I am looking forward to next season, to being a captain, and to leading the team to victory. This might affect how people view our team for next year, but we will not let that faze us and we will have to play without any distractions.” <<< Peter Johnson and Noah Sneider contributed to the reporting for this story. The Viking | 25
spring sports 2008
2007 RECORD: 10-2
COACH: Doyle Knight
CURRENT RECORD (as of 3/21/08) : 3-0
Feb ru a ry 27 @ Granada W 28 @ Coupertino W
Ma r c h
ast year the Paly golf team’s inability to beat Mountain View cost the Vikings at the league title. Two weeks from now, the Vikings have the opportunity to avenge last year’s losses against their heated rival, Mountain View. Their ability to win the big match is the determining factor between a good and a great team. The 2007 Vikings were a good team, winning a majority of their matches, yet failing to chalk up victories when they matched up against superior opponents in both league play and the playoffs. In their 2008 campaign they will look to make the transition from good to great in their quest for their first league title since 2003. The Vikings finished the 2007 season with a 10-2 record in which both losses came against Mountain View High School. Their second-place finish allowed them to reach CCS, but placing fifth in the playoffs was not enough for them to advance into the coveted NorCal tournament. Junior co-captain Pierce Marchant envisions a change in the league standings and better playoff success for the Vikings in the 2008 season. In order for these changes to occur, the Vikings will need to play consistently throughout the entire year. “We must practice hard and peak at the right times,” Marchant said. Marchant believes that with solid performances in the team’s big matches, the Vikings will have a great shot at winning the league and possibly advancing into the NorCal tournament for the first time since the 2003 season.
rising star 26 | The Viking
Marchant, along with the team’s only seniors’ Adam Furlong and Stanley Chun, is chomping at the bit for the opportunity for revenge on April 2. Chun and Furlong have yet to see the Vikings post a victory against Mountain View, with a record of 0-6 since they first joined the team in 2005. With all of their starters returning, the Vikings have a golden opportunity to upend Mountain View’s three-year stay atop the De Anza Division. Head coach, Doyle Knight, believes the team’s chances for this season are strong. “We didn’t lose any seniors and everyone has gotten better in the off-season,” Knight said. With no team during the off-season each golfer took it upon themselves to improve their game. “I practiced whenever I could during the offseason,” co-captain Alex Groetsma said. The Vikings opened their season with a victory in a practice game against Granada High School and opened league play with a victory against Cupertino, defeating them by a score of 169 to 198. Medalists for the match were freshman Michael Yaun and junior Hrishi Srinagesh who both shot 33, three over par at Deep Cliff Golf Course. The Vikings continued their winning streak by defeating both Los Gatos and Homestead. The team seems destined to enter the highly anticipated match against Mountain View undefeated. “Our goal this year is to have fun and beat Mountain View,” Chun said. The Vikings have been able to “talk the talk” this season by setting high goals for themselves. They have the ability to make the 2008 season one to remember, but they must beat starting Mountain View. ~ Greg Stewart
6 Los Gatos 11 Homestead 13 Fremont 18 Cupertino 31 @ Homestead
A pr i l 2 @ Mt. View 3 Mt. View 8 Los Altos 10 @ Fremont 14 Gunn 17 @ Gunn 21 SCVAL
May 5 CCS 12 CCS Finals 21 NorCals
Sta r ters
1. Pierce Marchanet 2. Alex Groetsma 3. Stanley Chun 4. Eliot Snow 5. Adam Furlong 6. Hrishi Srinagesh
MIC HAEL YAUN
After turning in a stellar performance in his varsity debut Michael Yaun is on pace to becoming a solid contributor to the team throughout the 2008 season. Yaun shot a team low of 33 in the Vikings league opening victory against Coupertino. Staying calm and cool out on the golf course is one of Yaun’s many strengths, along with a consistent short game.
spring sports 2008
2007 RECORD: 13-11 COACH: David Jefferson
CURRENT RECORD (as of 3/13/08) : 3-4
feb ru a ry
16 Westmont L 19 at St. Francis L 25 at Bellarmine L 29 Fremont W
Ma r c h
fter several months of practice and conditioning, the Palo Alto varsity baseball team is looking to improve off of last year’s success and come away with a league championship and a Central Coast Section (CCS) playoff birth. “A goal for this team right now is to keeping playing our game and get a league title,” junior pitcher and shortstop Steven Burk said. With the loss of 10 seniors, the Vikings will have to rely on some of the younger players on the team to get that league win. “We do not have the size and talent we did last year, Burk said. “We have to play small ball to pull out wins.” The Vikings opened the season off with three tough non-league losses to Westmont, St. Francis and Bellarmine High Schools, being outscored 33-1 in total. “Starting off the season with games against two tough Catholic schools is hard, but its early,” sophomore Wade Hauser said. The early offense at the plate has come from sophomore Scott Witte, who had the only run batted in (RBI) in the first three games, with his solo shot against the Bellarmine Bells. The boys got back on top of their game after a huge win against Fremont, outscoring them 21-5. The Vikes were in the zone at the plate and started the game with a 12- run first inning. “We started slow in the first three games, and it was a nice to get a win,” head coach David Jefferson said.
The Vikings held Fremont to five runs with help from Will Goodspeed’s pitching and great defense all around. Tommy Dalton came in to pitch in the sixth inning with a comfortable lead and did not let in any runs to secure the Vikings win. “This game brought up our confidence and we played well as the team,” junior Colin Byrne. The Vikings started league with a 7-0 win over Homestead High School. With strong support from Burk on the mound, the Vikings held Homestead to two hits and no runs. “If you trust your defense and have strong pitching you get the job done,” Jefferson said. The boys started with four runs in the first inning against Homestead’s Kansas State bound pitcher. “We were on top of this pitcher from the beginning and hitting well,” Witte said. After scoring in the first inning, the boys settled down and focused on defense. Strong performances all around the infield kept the Vikings lead. Later in the week, the Vikings faced Homstead again and lost 12-2. A rough outing from Goodspeed on the mound and lack of offense did not help the Vikings. The one bright spot of the game for Paly came from Kevin Johnson home run in the fifth inning. The Vikings faced Cupertino and pulled out a 12-7 win. Goodspeed started the come back with a base clearing double in the fifth inning. The Vikings will face Los Altos High School during spring break and Gunn High School in the beginning of April. ~John Christopherson
5 at Homestead W 7 Homestead L 12 Cupertino W 14 at Cupertino L 19 at Los Gatos 22 at Carlmont 24 at Prospect 26 Los Altos 28 at Los Altos 31 Aragon
A pr i l
2 at Gunn 4 Gunn 9 Milpitas 11 at Milpitas 23 at Wilcox 25 Wilcox
B a tti n g O r der 1. Tiger Pederson 2. Scott Witte 3. Will Holder 4. Kevin Johnson 5. Peter Abrams 6. Joc Pederson 7. Steven Burk 8. Mike Martin 9. Wade Hauser
SC OTT W ITTE
Sophomore Scott Witte has been a great addition to the Vikings. Bringing astounding defense at second base and coming up with big hits is only the beginning. Witte had a RBI against Homestead High School in the teams first match up and a home run against the Bellarmine Bells. Witte is a versatile player on defense and is key to the Vikings success.
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SOFTBALL spring sports 2008
2007 RECORD: 8-15 PLACE: 5th
COACH: Jake Halas CURRENT RECORD (as of 3/21/08) : 4-2
A pr i l
ew coaching is only one of the many changes the Palo Alto High School varsity softball team is facing this year. “Everything from last year is different - we have a new coach, different practices and positions, and a pretty young team,” sophomore Kristin Dauler said. “So far, this year has been a big change, and we’re still adapting to it.” New head coach Jake Halas and assistant coach Adam Yonkers are hoping to help the team turn its success around after last year’s disappointing season. “We’re here to win,” Halas said. “We just take one game at a time.” In fact, the team is currently 4-2 and undefeated in the El Camino league with hopes of making it to CCS this year. This success is all the more promising because the team is relatively young, predominantly composed of sophomores, with only two juniors and no seniors. “For us to compete at a high level with this sort of youth is very promising,” Halas said. “I am very pleased with the way our girls perform. They work so hard and give it their all every single game.” Though the Lady Vikings lost their first game of the season, they believe that their teamwork had improved. “Though we lost 0-5 the first time we ever played together [against Aragon High School], we actually played well as a team,” sophomore Kristin Dauler said. “It wasn’t a bad game. We hit pretty
rising star 28 | The Viking
well.” However, the following game, Paly came back and beat Menlo-Atherton 9-1. Later that week, though in the first few innings Paly was tied against Mountain View 1-1, they let up in the fourth inning and Mountain View began scoring. The Vikings lost 2-12. However, after that game, the Vikings began to see a turnaround in their performance. “In the game against Lynbrook our hitting was great,” Dauler said. “We won 6-1 and played bases really well. Kelly [Jenks], our pitcher, struck out almost their entire team.” In fact, sophomore pitcher Kelly Jenks is doing a lot for the team’s success this season. “We have a great pitcher,” Halas said. “She had 17 strikeouts [in the game against Cupertino],” Halas said. “That’s unreal, amazing. She’s done double digits almost every game. If we can support her to get the runs, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing.” Despite the team’s youth, the Vikings hope that their hard work will pay off and that they’ll make CCS this year. “Paly’s never had a strong softball program before,” Dauler said. “This is the first year that we’ve had a strong coach so we’re hoping to progress in all aspects. I guess we’re hoping to make it to CCS this year because we haven’t made it in like 12 years.” Paly’s next home game is against Wilcox High School on April 8 at 4PM. ~Nina Gertsvolf
01 Saratoga 08 Wilcox 10 Santa Clara 15 Gunn 17 Notre Dame S.J. 22 Cupertino 24 Los Altos 29 Gunn
May 01 Wilcox 06 Saratoga Home games in bold
ROSTER #2 Grace Stafford #4 Lauren Bucolo #5 Ryan Flanagan #8 Pamela Wong #10 Kristen Dauler #11 Mariah Philips #12 Kelly Jenks #14 Caroline McDonnell #16 Allie Coleman #18 Becca Dixon #21 Gracie Marshall
K EL LY JE N K S
Sophomore Kelly Jenks has emerged as the star player of Paly’s softball team. She ranks third on her team with a solid .368 batting average and leads the team in stolen bases (2). Her real forte, however, is pitching as she has pitched every single inning for the team this season. In 40 innings, she has a 2.10 earned run average (ERA) and an astounding 58 strikeouts. Jenks has led the Vikings to a 4-2 record so far this season.
BOYS’ SWIMMING spring sports 2008
COACH: Danny Dye
CURRENT RECORD (as of 3/21/08) : 1-0
A pr i l
ith a Santa Clara Valley Athletic League championship and a second place finish in the Central Coast Section finals last season, the Palo Alto High School varsity boys’ swim team has high hopes for this upcoming year. With many returning swimmers from last year’s team, senior Michael Fortune believes that the team will have a lot of success. “We have a lot of experience on our team, as most of the swimmers are seniors or juniors who have had varsity experience,” Fortune said. Head Coach Danny Dye agrees with Fortune’s assessment. “We should win leagues, set some school records, and get to CCS and challenge Bellarmine,” Dye said. For 25 straight years, the Bellarmine College Preparatory team has won the CCS crown. This year, the Palo Alto High School varsity boys swimming team will attempt to change that. “Our goal is to get second in CCS, but hopefully we can have a shot at beating Bellarmine,” Fortune said. While the Vikings may seem to be selling themselves short by aspiring to finish second, the Bellarmine Bells have dominated their competition. Last year, Bellarmine won CCS with a score of 401, more than double the second place score of 194 that both Paly and Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory compiled. “Last year we got second [in CCS] after Bellarmine, but they doubled our score so it will take a lot for us to compete with them,” senior captain
Scott Mielke said. The point disparity with the scores is due to many factors. “Bellarmine brings three times as many swimmers as we do,” sophomore Bobby Abbott said. The problems with depth will affect the team throughout the season. “We have some issues with depth, but it won’t really affect us now,” Mielke said. “But when leagues/CCS comes, there are more swimming slots so we’ll be pressed to fill those spots. We have a bunch of freshmen and sophomores on Varsity from the get-go so we shouldn’t have as many issues [as in previous years].” However, Dye does not believe depth will be a critical issue. “We have a lot of talent and if the younger ones keep training, we should be ok,” Dye said. Even with these weaknesses, the Vikings hope to succeed this season. The season began with a commanding victory in a non-league meet over Woodside High School. In their first league meet, the Spring Invitational, the Vikings came in first place with a score of 264, beating Lynbrook High School, The King’s Academy, Wilcox High School and Bellarmine (B team) With these early victories, the Vikings hope to continue the trend in their upcoming news. “As long as they keep working hard and staying on task, we should have a very successful season,” Dye said. ~Steven Tran
01 Menlo 04 Lynbrook 11 Saratoga 15 Gunn 18/19 Section Challenges 22 Saratoga 25 Monta Vista
May 01 at Los Altos 07 Boys Prelims (League Championships) at Lynbrook 09 Combined Finals (League Championships) at Lynbrook 16 Swimming Prelims (CCS Championships) at Stanford 17 Swimming Finals (CCS Championships) at Stanford
IAN SCHUBERT Sophomore Ian Schubert, the boys’ top butterfly swimmer has had to step up in many events. His contributions have helped the Vikings early, with strong times in both butterfly and relays. “Ian is really hard-working and will help fill the void left by [2007 Paly grad] Leland Takamine at butterfly,” senior Michael Fortune said.
The VikinG | 29
spring sports 2008
GIRLS’ SWIMMING 2007 RECORD: Undefeated
COACH: Danny Dye
Ma r c h 14 Homestead 15 Serra Relays
A pr i l
his year, the Palo Alto girls’ varsity swim team has the opportunity to win SCVAL (Santa Clara Valley Athletic League) for the sixth year in a row. Last year, the team reached CCS but was only able to place third. With the loss of last years’ graduating captains Tanya Wilcox, Aly Mackenzie and Louisa Zao, the team sought new leadership. Seniors Colleen Fotch, Amanda Wong, Lizzie Abbott and Liv Jensen all rose to the occasion. With new captains and a whole new set of speedy freshmen, the Paly girls’ swim team is ready for a successful season. “This year we are going to dominate,” sophomore Kaitlyn Tracy said. “It’s the last year that we will be swimming with the seniors so we have to.” This years’ seniors will leave a mark in Paly history. In addition to swimming for Paly, two of the captains, Liv Jensen and Colleen Fostch, will try to compete in the 2008 Olympics as well. With inspiration from their captains, the team has high goals; the team looks to accomplish more than it did last year and win CCS. This year, the freshmen seem to have a flair for swimming, bringing an overwhelming surge of talent, dedication and potential. “They are all really fast and well-conditioned year-round swimmers,” Colleen Fotsch said. With an overpowering amount of ability, not only the freshmen class is shining. “The good thing about this years team is that everyone is really talented,” junior Tara Murao said. “Not only one class is good, we all are.” The excitement surrounding this year’s team is not just growing among players. Fifth-year head coach Danny Dye believes that this season will be one of
rising star 30 | The Viking
the most successful yet. With top-level athletes in every grade, the girls are prepared to succeed all the way to CCS. “We have talent across the board,” Dye said. “This team is better than any I have ever coached through the years.” A team this dedicated and in shape does not become such a threat without extreme workouts. “We swim up to five miles a day in practice,” senior Amanda Wong said. “It is not easy.” The swim team has up to eight practices a week, including Saturdays and two morning practices. To be able to beat the competition, the girls are always practicing. “The team this year works really hard and is always looking to improve,” Dye said. “ We are only six weeks into practice and all the swimmers have already shown improvement.” All of their hard work eventually pays off. So far this season the girls’ swim team is undefeated. “ All the swimmers swam very well in our first practice meet against Woodside,” said Dye. “ I am really proud of all their times, everyone did a great job.” The swim team is excited for the upcoming season and is ready to defeat past rivals. “We really want to beat Monta Vista in a duel meet,” said Lizzie Abbott. “ The past two years they have beaten us, but we can definitely do it this year.” With drive to beat past opponents and a wave of new talent, which has splashed onto the pool deck, the Paly girls’ swim team is ready and able to win. ~Amanda Hohbach
1 Menlo 4 Lynbrook 11 Saratoga 15 Gunn 18 Section Challange 25 Monta Vista
May 5 Los Altos 8 Prelims 9 Combined Prelims 16 Prelims 17 Finals
Freshman Sabrina Lee is a key component of the girls varsity swim team. In her first year on the team she has secured a spot on the A relay, along with seniors Liv Jensen, Lizzie Abbott and Colleen Fotsch. Although she is a freshman she is considered one of the most valuable members of the team. As a year round swimmer she is always conditioned and ready for a race. With three more years at Paly, Sabrina Lee can only improve.
**Home games are in bold**
TRACK AND FIELD spring sports 2008
2007 RECORD: 6-0
COACH: Jason Fung
CURRENT RECORD (as of 3/21/08) : 2 -0
Ma r c h
he Paly track team is laced up and ready to dominate this year’s competition. Although many feel that track is a test of an individual’s ability, the Vikings are set to win leagues as a team and send several members to compete at the state level. The Vikings have several outstanding runners in the mile. Sophomore Philip Macquitty, junior Charlie Avis and senior Brian Karvelas lead the pack. “We have ten guys that are going to break 4:40 in the mile,” Karvelas said. “This is probably the most talented distance team ever at Paly and it is only March.” Although the runners at the front possess a lot of talent, the depth of the team is its strength. “Even though Philip and Charlie are extremely fast, we have half a dozen runners that can compete each race,” senior Tommy Angelopolous said. “There are eight or ten of us that all run at about the same pace, so we are able to challenge each other to get better.” One of those runners is Rajan Narang. Narang reached the league finals last year with a mile time of 4:43. However, he is still not satisfied. “I expect to do better than last year,” he said. “Although I am not in the shape I would like to be in right now, I am confident that with a couple months of solid training, my balls will be running fast enough to qualify for CCS.” Mia Lattanzi leads a girl’s distance team that looks to be very competitive in leagues. “Although we lost several good all-around runners last year, we have a very solid group,” she said. “The good thing about our team is that we al-
ways support and encourage each other.” Lattanzi is looking forward to competing. “As a school, our biggest competition is always Gunn and Los Gatos,” she said. “Gunn is tough because of the rivalry and Los Gatos always has an amazing team.” Discus thrower Dennis Muaka leads Paly’s strength group. Muaka has improved steadily from freshman year, adding ten feet to his throws each year. “I was throwing 110 feet in my freshman year,” he said. “I expect to throw 130-135 feet this year.” Muaka trains with junior Andy Maliska. “I tussle and toss every day with Andy,” Muaka said. “If one of us needs some help, the other one watches him and tries to find the thing that is wrong with his technique.” Senior hurdler Mohammed Abid is ready to prove himself after a disappointing junior year. He had an outstanding sophomore year, where he made it to the CCS semifinals in the 300-meter hurdles. Unfortunately, his success did not continue. “I ran terribly last year,” he said. “I failed to make it out of leagues, but that is the nature of hurdling. One slip up and you are done.” Now in his senior year, Abid is running well. “I expect to make it past leagues hopefully all the way into the CCS finals,” he said. As for the team, Abid does not expect much less. “Los Gatos and Gunn will be tough nuts,” he said. “However, I fully expect us to win leagues and place well at CCS.” ~Adam Furlong
6 at Mt. View 8 K. Bell Invit. 13 Monte Vista 15 Del Mar Invit. 20 at Gunn 21-22 West Valley Invit. 29 St. Francis Invit.
A pr i l 1 Los Gatos 4-5 Stanford Invit. 10 at Milpitas 18 Arcadia Invit. 24 at Los Altos 25 Oregon Invit. 29 SCVAL trials 24 Milpitas
May 9 SCVAL Qualifieer Meet 17 CCS Semis 23 CCS Finals 30-31 CIF State Finals
DANIE L JONES
Given the nickname “The Cheetah” by his peers, Daniel Jones looks to lead a group of determined Paly sprinters in leagues. Jones personal record times last year in the 100 meter (11.69 seconds) and 200 meter (23.47) were good enough for fastest on the team. Look for him to run well in leagues and place high in CCS. The Viking | 31
spring sports 2008
Current Record: 1-0-1 COACH: Jen Gray and Nicole Hyde
Ma r c h 20th Gunn
A pr i l
n its first year at Paly, the girls’ lacrosse team is doing better than expected. With over twenty people on both JV and varsity teams, the girls are ready to work hard. “Because this is a brand new team, the turnout at tryouts was great,” coach Nicole Hyde said. “Half of these girls have never played, but you would not be able to tell.” Many of the girls are just starting out or have had only one year of experience from the Tomahawks lacrosse team. The elected captains, junior Helene Zahoudanis, senior Kati Dahm and junior Anna Bastidas, all have had at least one year of experience. “Even though many of the players are beginners, everyone has a lot of potential athletic ability,” Dahm said. “We have a good chance of doing well.” Although it has not been long since practice started, the girls do not find getting along to be a problem. “It has only been three weeks since practice, and we are all already friends,” sophomore Maya Fielder said. “We are all really close.” The lacrosse team is determined and is ready to work hard in order to win their upcoming games. With practices focused on skill development and conditioning, the team is practicing hard.
“This team is a really great group of girls, which is definitely willing to put in the time and effort to do well,” Anna Bastidas said. The team will be facing more experienced teams, so they will have to catch up quickly. At their first scrimmage against Menlo Atherton High School, the Vikings suffered a 12-0 loss. “Although we may have lost, we have tons of potential,” sophomore Sam Herzog said. First ranked Menlo Atherton is has been together for eight years. “Considering they have been together for eight years, they’re not that great,” sophomore Emily Fowler said. “I think we could beat them by the end of the season.” Another big threat to Paly is the Gunn team. Their lacrosse team has been together for seven years and is a team to beat. “When we play Gunn we are really going to have to play good defense,” Dahm said. “That is what is going to keep us in the game. Although Palys’ season has just begun, they have improved their game in leaps and strides. “As the season progresses so will we,” Batidas said. “With more experience we will get a lot better and be more of a threat.” ~Amanda Hohbach
“Half of these girls have never played, but you would not be able to tell,” coach Nicole Hyde said.
Junior Helene Zahoudanis , a captain on the girls’ varsity lacrosse team, will be an important attribute to the teams success this season. With pre‘ vious experience on the Tomahawks, a local club team , she will bring leadership and knowledge to the field. Zahoudanis will use her agility and stick handling skills to maneuver past opponents and lead the vikes to a winning season.
rising H EL E NE star ZAHOUDANIS 32 | The Viking
1 Castilleja 4 Leland 5 Tournament 8 Harker/ Notre Dame 10 Menlo School 15 Menlo Atherton 18 Pioneer 25 Woodside/ Mercy 29 Sacred Heart
May 2 Burlingame 6 Tournament 10 Tournament Finals **Home games are bold**
spring sports 2008
2007 RECORD: 1-11
PLACE: 7th (of 7)
COACH: Kara Prentice
CURRENT RECORD (as of 3/11/08) : 1-0
Ma r c h
11 Los Altos W 13 Saratoga 18 Gunn 20 at Monta Vista 24 Milpitas
ith only one win over the past two years, Paly badminton has a long road ahead to respectability. However, heading into the 2008 season the team is still excited for what lies ahead. “We were pretty demoralized during the year because of all our losses,” junior Adam Hwung said. “That one win did help our team morale. We‘re working harder because of our bad record last year to win more this year.” Last season Paly finished in last place of the upper DeAnza division of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL), with a 1-11 record. The team often had trouble finishing matches and keeping up with deeper opponents. “There were a lot of matches [last year] where I would see that our player was better but couldn’t put it all together,” coach Kara Prentice said. “Kids weren’t playing to their potential, and that’s the hardest part as a coach.” Despite the last place finish, Paly remained in the upper division after the Milpitas coach requested that his team be moved down. This season the focus will be on developing a strong foundation for the future by developing the JV and underclassman players. “We’re trying to do more train the underclassmen,” Hwung said. “We’re trying to use practice more productively with drills, training, and teaching.” The Vikes hope to use practice time to solidify their fundamentals and get simulated game experience for many of the younger players.
“We do lots of drills and practice matches,” junior Alyssa Burton said. “We’re trying to be more productive in practice this year.” With only two returning senior boys, Paly will look girls’ number one singles player Young Hsu, and the number one girls’ doubles tandem of Connie Yang and Crystal Wang to anchor the team. “Our girls are definitely our strongest link,” Prentice said. “With Young, Connie, and Crystal we have a lot of experience.” Prentice believes that the experience of their opponents is the main factor in the Vikes success this season. Many members of the team are simply looking to take the new season one step at a time. “Everyone trying their hardest to win and everyone actually willing to practice, drill, and train to the best of their ability during practice,” Hwung said. Each victory will be a step forward for the Vikes, who are still optimistic about the upcoming season. “Our main goal is probably to win more than one game,” Burton said. “Our record hasn’t been so good for the past seasons. But otherwise, we just all want to have a good time.” The record over the last two years notwithstanding, the team’s passion has never been called into question. “No matter how poorly we do, everyone on this team is always excited for badminton season,” Prentice said. ~ Noah Sneider
A pr i l 1 at Lynbrook 3 Homestead 8 at Wilcox 10 Monta Vista 22 at Gunn 29 Lynbrook
May 1 at Homestead 6 Wilcox 8 at Saratoga
YO UNG HSU
Junior Young Hsu, the number one girls’ singles player, is a key component to the Vikes success this year. Hsu’s dedication and experience are sure to lead to a number of victories this season. “Young is a player who is always optimistic and wants to practice hard and get better,” junior Florence Hsiao said.
The Viking | 33
BOYS’ TENNIS spring sports 2008
2007 RECORD: 20-2
COACH: Andy Harader
CURRENT RECORD (as of 3/21/08) : 9-2
A pr i l
oasting a team filled with veteran experience and young talent, the Palo Alto varsity boys’ tennis team will look to contend for a league title and make some noise in the Central Coast Section tournament. Last year the team made it to the CCS quarterfinals before losing to section powerhouse Bellarmine College Prep. The squad loses only three players in Matt Severson, Kyle Schulman and Jason Mah from last year’s team. Coach Andy Harader’s team has rushed out of the gates with a 9-2 record and second place finish in the 96 team California Classic tournament, despite having to deal with a number of illnesses and health issues to key players. “One of our goals is to get everyone healthy,” Harader said. “Because of it we have been drawing up players from the junior varsity team.” Accordingly, Harader sees the team’s depth as one of its biggest strengths. “Fortunately, this year we have a lot of depth,” he said. “To win all those matches, with all those guys out, takes a lot of skill.” Once the team returns to full strength, many of the team’s players, including junior Dan Schwartz, believe the team has the ability to compete for a SCVAL De Anza Division title and compete in the CCS tourney. “One of our goals is getting a high seed in CCS,” Schwartz said. “We also want to finish first or second in league - we will fight with Saratoga for the title.”
The team is filled out with a deep singles lineup. Senior Kushal Tantry will line up at the number one singles position for the third straight season, with juniors Sam Wong and Dan Schwartz at the three and four spots. Freshman Baramee Wongbanchai takes the number two spot; the young phenom is seen as a major key to success for the team. “[Wongbanchai] is just going to keep getting better,” Tantry said. “Without him we would not be nearly as good.” While the singles players are well-established, the doubles tandems are still getting figured out. “We would like get our doubles team stronger,” Harader said. Currently, senior David Plotkin and junior John Mitchell are at the one spot, while sophomores Drew Pearson and Chase Cooper and juniors Alan Chen and Cory McCroskey will work the two and three spots. Sophomore Peter Tseng has also figured into the doubles tandems. Even though the Vikings only blemishes were close losses to Bellarmine and Gunn, Harader still sees room for improvement. “We have not reached our full potential,” he said. “Even at 9-2, we could have won both those losses if we were better in the third set.” “Everyone is critical to our success,” Tantry said. “We can make it to the NorCal championships if we finish top two in CCS. It is a stretch but if we stay disciplined it is a definite possibility.”
01 Mountain View 02 Menlo 03 Monta Vista 07 Aragon 08 Los Altos 09 Tamalpais 14 Saratoga 15 Gunn 17 Saratoga 21 Sacred Heart 22 SCVALS 23 SCVALS
May 02 CCS Team 20 CCS Individual
~ Ian Kelly (Photo courtesy of Paly Voice)
Freshman Baramee Wongbanchai has lit up the Paly tennis team in only his first year, winning all but one of his matches at the #2 singles spot. “Baramee is the cornerstone of our singles lineup,” junior Dan Schwartz said. “He is our most consistent match-winner. He hits a really heavy ball that pushes his opponents back and makes it tough to play for them. He really imposes his game on the his opponent.” Look for the phenom, who hails from Thailand, to be the next great Viking tennis player.
BARAMEE g n i s ri star WONGBANCH A I 34 | The Viking
spring sports 2008
2007 TOP CCS PERFORMERS: 1st-Michela Fossati-Bellani 2nd-Jenny Reese 8th-Noa Palmon
he Palo Alto High School diving team will depend on their band of talented leaders this season to remain competitive, once again, for a Central Coast Section title. “These guys are an important factor every year in terms of making a run at CCS,” head coach Danny Dye said. The team finished third in CCS last season, but lost some talent, especially last year’s CCS runner-up Jenny Reese. Even with the team’s one two punch gone, this year’s success is not an illusion, according to Dye. “They have already showed success,” Dye said. “We can do this again, have a goood season.” The team plans to let their blend of experienced contenders and youthful newcomers work to their advantage as the year goes on. Dye believes that the formula will lead to success. Senior Michela Fossati-Bellani is the Viking’s clear centerpiece. One of the nation’s top divers, Fossati-Bellani is looking for her third straight CCS title. Last year she set a CCS record for her 506.05 point score in the finals. “Michela has one of the nicest dispositions,” Dye said. “She is an awesome diver and treats everyone the same.” Fossati-Bellani uses her immense diving
COACH: Danny Dye
knowledge to serve as essentially another coach on the team. “[Fossati-Bellani] is willing to do everything for the team,” Dye said. “She always comes early to help out the younger divers. She is one of my favorite people.” Yet the team has talent that stretches beyond just Fossati-Bellani. Junior Noa Palmon and freshman Gracie Greenwood will also be competing this season for CCS medals, and are certainly top eight contenders. “Those three are solid divers,” Dye said. “I expect them to do well.” Greenwood has the job of replacing the Harvard-freshman Reese as the team’s second diver, but appears to be the right girl for the job. “She knows how to move in the air,” FossatiBellani said. “She is tight and flexible, which gives her the power to push the board down.” In senior Will Simon, the Vikings also have a male contender for CCS. A top eight finisher in last season’s CCS championships for the Vikings, Simon has high expectations for this season’s competition. “I think Will [Simon]’s goal this season should be ambitious,” Dye said. “We’re looking for a top three finish from him this year.” Overall, the team appears to be as competitive as they have been in previous seasons.
“ [Fossati-Bellani] is willing to do everything for the team. She always comes early to help out the younger divers.”
A pr i l 01 Menlo 04 Lynbrook 11 Saratoga 15 Gunn 18 Section Challenge 25 Monta Vista
May 01 at Los Altos
- head coach Danny Dye
G R AC IE G R EENWO OD
Freshman star Gracie Greenwood may be new to Paly’s diving program, but she is certainly not new to the sport. Greenwood has already been training with Stanford coaches for many years and expects to lead the team with the looming departure of senior talent and leadership. She consistently performs powerful dives that combine her natural talent for movement in the air with her already wisened knowledge for the sport’s complex techniques.
The Viking | 35
The Mathlete By Matthew Tracy and Oliver Davies
he firm handshake, the intense eye contact, the overflowing exuberance; Palo Alto High School Math Teacher Jeff Billing enraptures both his students with “The Look.” “The Look is Billing’s way of telling you he’s proud of you,” senior Bryan Wells said. “You realize there’s nothing left to live for.” As soon as the final school bell rings, Billing takes his tangible passion outside to his second classroom; the track. Billing brings a trademark enthusiasm to his work, connecting with kids both in and outside of the classroom, bringing a unique versatility to the Paly math department. “The two most important things [Billing brings to his classroom] are his strong belief in putting high energy and passion into everything he pursues, and the twin notion that his high energy and passion can lead to excellence,” Billing’s uncle and 1968 Boston Marathon Winner Amby Burfoot said. “He believes in having fun, and in doing well.” After Billing was hired four years ago, he immediately started helping out with Paly’s cross-country team as an assistant coach, although later named the boys’ head coach. The runners in that freshman class are now seniors, and Alok Subbarao, one of Paly cross-country’s greatest success stories, is proud to be a part of it. “Jeff believed in me back when no one else did,” senior cross-cross country captain Subbarao said. “I was the slowest person in cross-country and in track. I couldn’t really break seven minutes [for a mile] and hoped to break six [minutes] by junior year. Mr. Billing promised me that he would help me break 6 minutes that same year. He worked me pretty hard that whole year and kept telling me that I would break six minutes. The day after track ended, in a time trial, I ran a 5:59 mile.” Subbarao worked tirelessly over the course of his career with Billing, eventually dropping more than nine minutes from his time at the notorious 5-kilometer Crystal Springs Course. “Jeff is a really involved coach,” Subbarao said. “He’s always really enthusiastic about coaching, and, before big meets, he always gives us long speeches that really get us fired up and excited.” Part of Billing’s great coaching and teaching abilities comes from his interesting childhood. Billing excelled in academics and athletics while growing up in Connecticut, and was a three-year varsity athlete in baseball, crosscountry and track. “I have always had the impression that academic success came easily to Jeff, it was almost a ‘given’,” Burfoot said. “Athletics were something else; however, they were what he did to express his enthusiasm.” Finishing his high school career all-state in track, and all conference in baseball and cross-country, Billing moved on to MIT where he participated in both cross-country and baseball.
Features “Jeff appeared to have fun almost all of the time, whether it was socializing, doing homework or cleaning,” fellow MIT Alumni Anthony Pelosi said. “His attitude rubbed off on others.” Following university, Billing brought a masters degree in computer science to Redwood Shores, where he accepted a job at Oracle. After two years of the same monotonous routine, Billing realized this job was
Photo courtesy of Stewart Berman
KEEPING TIME Billing keeps various runners’ times at Paly’s first track meet of the season, which took place on Thursday, March 6th and resulted in a Viking victory. not for him. He found himself constantly thinking about and anticipating his practices with his Belmont Little League team at work. “I realized a dream job is one you daydream about when you’re not at it,” Billing said. “Working at Oracle just didn’t make me do that.” Left with an education in computers and a love for sports, Billing did what was logical. He started applying for jobs as a math teacher. Had the teaching profession not worked out, Billing had hopes of becoming The Viking | 37
Features a statistician for a major league ball club, a career he has never been able to pursue. When Billing showed up to the Paly math department career fair, he already felt overshadowed by the fifty other teachers all dressed in their nicest attire. It was his first chance to make an impression with Ms. Antink, and he was the only person underdressed for the occasion. “He [Billing] came [to the job fair] full
Billing said. “I love teaching math, but I think it’d be fun to teach physics too.” As Billing continues to blossom as a coach and a teacher at Paly, it is clear he has not forgotten his roots. Last Thanksgiving Billing took a Tuesday night red-eye to Connecticut, where he proceeded to run in the Manchester Road Race, one of the premier road races in America today. “The Manchester Road Race on
Medical School, Billing will be forced to make a tough decision; whether to follow Yuen on her journey to becoming a doctor, or whether to stay here in Palo Alto and continue living the life he has now. “The decision for Jeff will be difficult,” Yuen said. “I know that the past four years have been phenomenal for Jeff. From a professional perspective, he often comments on how he has grown as a
“My four years here have shaped the rest of my life,” Billing said. “And no matter where I end up, I’ll always have wonderful memories of my coworkers, students and athletes here at Paly” of enthusiasm and energy--he wasn’t very knowledgeable about teaching or attaining credentials, but he was passionate,” Paly math teacher Susan Antink said. “He was obviously bright, and he seemed able. We didn’t interview him right away because he didn’t have a credential. However, he made it into the second round of interviews because of his dynamic personality.” Fortunately for the Paly community, the teaching opportunity worked out, and he was hired for the 2004-2005 school year as an Advanced Geometry and Algebra 1 teacher. To this day, Billing still teaches an Algebra class, Algebra 1.1, and one day he aspires to teach physics as well, but he is not sure when that day will come. “I’ve always thought physics would be really fun to teach - it was probably my favorite subject in high school, and to me, it explained the way the world worked,”
Thanksgiving Day is one of the 3 most special days of the year for me,” Billing said. “My uncle has run the race 45 years in a row, my father 35 years in a row, and myself 16 years in a row. I don’t know how to describe what it means to me – it’s a tradition, and I love traditions.“ Showing his true dedication to coaching, once he finished Thanksgiving dinner, Billing flew right back to Palo Alto to coach cross-country stars Charlie Avis and Phillip Macquitty in the state cross-country final that Friday. Unfortunately, there is a sad side to every story; in Billing’s case, his wonderful career at Paly might be cut short this upcoming summer. Billing’s girlfriend, Christy Yuen, is applying to medical schools both in California and on the east coast, and is waiting to hear back; a decision due on May 15. Barring Yuen’s acceptance to Stanford
Ice Cream: Soft serve swirl- “Bring it on Skyler!” (Referring to an eating competition between junior Skyler Cummins and Billing) Color: Orange Sport: Baseball Workout: Hour-long run Song: Mass Pike by the Get Up Kids Movie: The Sandlot Idols: His parents Show: Pardon the Interruption (PTI)
38 | The Viking
teacher, and how much he has learned from his colleagues and students. He also loves living in the same community where he works, and I am sure that if Jeff chooses to move on, he will leave behind many disappointed students, parents and faculty.” Nobody knows what the future has in store for Billing, but, Paly can only hope he is here to stay. “My years at Paly have been lifechanging,” Billing said. “Before I met Ms. Antink at the career fair, I thought it’d be cool to be a teacher, and fun to coach as well. Four years later I’ve found something that I can picture myself doing for the rest of my life. My years here have shaped the rest of my life, and no matter where I end up, I’ll always have wonderful memories of my coworkers, students and athletes here at Paly.” <<<
Food: Home-made pizza Pre-race meal/routine: Banana and water City to run in: His hometown- Mystic, CT Vacation: The beach or any road trip Weekend activity: Red Sox game at Fenway [park]
PLAYING ROUGH BY A H N A R AO
Photography by Alek Milovidov
The Viking | 13
Profiles and soccer. The sport employs kicking, throwing and running the Palo Alto High school junior Will Holder saw the ball tumble ball towards the opposing teams’ end zone. The ball can only be out of his teammate’s hands onto the grass. He ran to pick it up thrown backwards, and points are accumulated by scoring try’s and then everything went black. After waking up, several seconds (touching the ball in the other teams end zone) for 5 points, and later, he realized that he had been knocked unconscious. The conversions (the equivalent of a field goal) for 2 points. game was still in play, so Holder got up and jumped back into Holders’ home team, the East Palo Alto Razorback’s, helped the game. him to hone his rugby talent. “I woke up and one of my One significant difference teammates was trying to pick between Holders’ home team me up off the ground in the and those of his teammates on middle of play so we could the national team is that the keep playing,” Holder said. “I Razorback’s do not distinguish got up and found out where I players by skill level. was and then kept playing.” “Most teams would break up When Palo Alto High School into A, B and C teams,” Will junior Will Holder began Holder said. “On my team playing rugby in third grade, [the EPA Razorback’s] we no one expected that he would are all together. You show up grow up to be a national and play.” prospect. Holder recently Holder is currently a key earned a spot on the U17 USA component to the lineMen’s national team, but his up of the East Palo Alto journey thus far has not been Razorback’s, yet he is still easy. eager to improve. In mid-December, Holder “Practices are pretty attended tryouts for the U17 relaxed,” Holder said. “We USA Men’s national team. usually play a touch version of Holder had actively been in rugby for most of the practice contact with recruiters for which helps with multiple about a year, who had urged skills.” him to try for a spot on the Though Holder claims team. that his teammates are out “We were playing a practicing every day, formal tournament at Stanford and practices only take place on there were some recruiters Tuesdays and Thursdays. there,” Holder said. “They told “I have never really figured me they wanted me to try out out how many people are on [for the national team].” my team,” Holder said. “We Holder impressed the coaches have a different number at at the tryouts in Florida and each game and practice.” was accepted to the starting “My East Palo Alto team is squad. really undisciplined,” Holder “It started out with about said. “We pretty much run 150 guys,” Holder said. “From MOVING UP Holder has taken his game to the next around and hit people.” there they pick the top 30 level on the U17 Men’s National Team Junior Ashraf El Gamal had players.” the opportunity to play for the The practice schedule for team in a tournament at Stanford. El Gamal was not allotted much the national team must work around the fact that the individual playing time because of his lack of rugby experience, but he still athletes live across the country and play on their home teams as was able to feel like part of the team. well. For that reason the national team arrives three days early “It’s not that organized,” El Gamal said. “It is just a bunch of before tournaments to prepare and to prepare fits in about five [guys] running around.” practices, per day. But El Gamal claims that Holder puts forward quite a commitment Holder recently played in a tournament with the team in Florida, to the team. and claims that their style varies with the one he is used to here “He is always going to games and practices,” El Gamal said. at home. “He definitely works hard at [rugby].” “The game is quicker and more organized,” Holder said. “The The EPA Razorbacks provided a foundation for which Will only chance my team [East Palo Alto Razorback’s] could beat Holder could build up his game, but his natural talent played a them would be if we injured all the players.” large part in his success. The secret to Holder’s success may lie Rugby is quite an obscure sport, described as a mixture of football 40 | The Viking
Profiles in the genes. Will’s dad, Rob Holder, is a coaching legend in the sport of rugby. “My dad is one of the best rugby coaches out there,” Will Holder said. “He has coached for 10 years, mostly with the Air Force Academy.” Rob Holder can single-handedly take credit for immersing Will in rugby at a young age. “Will was always around the game when he was younger, so he was introduced to rugby from the sidelines when I was a player,” Rob Holder said. “He was watching rugby within the first few months of his birth.” Rob Holder also began the rugby program in which Will first started playing in Colorado, before the family moved to California. Though Rugby is not a very popular sport in America, he thought it was important to give kids an opportunity to play, considering they were the only rugby league in the area.
“ I always knew he had the athletic ability to be good at rugby ” - Rob Holder “My dad wanted to start a youth rugby program in Colorado,” Will Holder said. “So I got 20 of my friends together and we played some seven on seven rugby.” The youth rugby program Coach Rob Holder started in Colorado was played by true rugby rules with full tackle, and helped the young athletes to get a feel for the game. “The Golden C.A.T.S. rugby team was simply a way for Will to learn to play rugby,” Rob Holder said. “We were the only rugby club in the area so we only played against each other… we taught skills.” Holders’ dedication to rugby stems from his respect for the sport. Though it is not immensely popular in the United States, the specifics of the game differ from traditional concepts of American athletics concepts. “I always knew he had the athletic ability to be good at rugby,” Rob Holder said. “But I was not sure he would put the work in at first. Once I saw him working at his game I knew he would be successful.” Rugby takes a level of dedication that one has to be willing to commit to become a successful player, and players are given more independence than other sports. “One thing I really like about rugby is that [the game] is all player-run,” Will Holder said, “During the international matches the coaches sit way up in the stands and watch from a distance.” The game provides an equal playing field for all athletes, and varies from sports like Football because the game does not constantly stop. Rugby is a true test of players’ athleticism. “There is a lot more flow to the game [than in football],” Will Holder said, “I like that everyone in the game can do anything they want. You can be a 300 pound guy and kick or run with the ball and then tackle and then score too.” <<<
NEW SKILLS “Kicking, throwing and running with the ball are all part of playing rugby.”
WILL’S THRILLS Favorite Food? Dad’s cheeseburgers Biggest Pet Peeve? Girls who wear leggings under skirts Dream Date? Jessica Alba Favorite Team? New Zealand All Blacks Best pump up song? “New Noise” by Refused The Viking | 41
caduca libera Free falling in hopes of an Olympic dream...
BY C ASSIE PRIOLEAU
Photography by Alek Milovidov
ichela Fossati-Bellani jumps off a board, flips and twists in the air, and barely makes a splash as she breaks the surface of the water. Though the ripples may be small in the water, the effect is the opposite at the judging table. Fossati-Bellani, a senior at Paly, is the number one diver for her age group in Italy. She won a CCS title and broke the CCS diving record during the 2007 season. She is USCbound on a scholarship and hopes to participate in the 2012 Olympics. With the Olympics as a possibility, Fossati-Bellani has come full circle. The 2000 Sydney Olympics first sparked
Fossati-Bellani’s interest in diving. “I saw people diving and was like wow, that’s really cool,” Fossati-Bellani said. “I need to try that.” Fossati-Bellani started off with low-key diving at a country club until she decided it was time to step it up. She began diving with a Stanford diving program and at age 12, tried out for the Italian national team. She has an Italian passport and knew competing on the Italian team would be a little easier than on the American team because of Italy’s smaller population. Placing first and second in Italian competitions secured Fossati-Bellani’s spot on the team.
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Profiles “The whole thing has been extremely positive because she loves it and she chose it,” Fossati-Bellani’s mother, Cristina Ballerio, said. Fossati-Bellani’s international diving on the Italian team has sent her around the world, from Brazil to Malaysia to Germany. On top of that, she spends her summers diving in her parents’ homeland, Italy, and usually makes three or four trips there each school year. Accordingly, Fossati-Bellani has had to make many sacrifices for such competitive diving.
“I get to teach people things I know and pass things down.” Moreover, she helps Paly’s swimming and diving coach, Danny Dye, coach the divers, most of whom are beginners. The new divers feel lucky to be coached by and work with such an accomplished diver. “It was really cool to know that she is really an expert at the sport,” sophomore and new diver Gaby Cahill said. “She’s really comfortable on the board and when she gives me criticism I know that she really understands what she’s talking about.”
“I feel like a lot of divers take for granted going to extraordinary places like Brazil, Malaysia, Russia, Italy and Germany. But I think about it a lot and how lucky I am.” “There are a lot of times I have had to not do something that I really wanted to do,” Fossati-Bellani said. “Probably the phrase that I have to use 75 percent of the time I’m asked to do something has been, ‘I can’t, I have diving.’ I have to pass up a lot of late nights to get up for a 7 AM competition. Also a lot of weekends are sacrificed to go to meets.” Though Fossati-Bellani has to skip events that range from spending time with friends after school to Paly’s first Sadie Hawkins dance, she finds the trade off is worthwhile. “It’s worth it 100 percent,” Fossati-Bellani said. “I have had so many experiences that I could never get from anywhere else. I feel like a lot of the time divers take for granted going to extraordinary places like Brazil, Malaysia, Russia, Italy and Germany. But I think about it a lot and how lucky I am.” Though the Paly diving is not close to the caliber Fossati-Bellani is used to on the Italian team, every spring she racks points for the Vikings. “Paly diving is more just Guardando in avanti (looking forward): Fossati-Bellani will dive for for fun,” Fossati-Bellani said. USC next year and hopes to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.
Although her instruction is helpful for the Paly divers, Fossati-Bellani feels more comfortable diving than coaching. “For me, it’s easier to do it than to teach it,” FossatiBellani said. “I know what I’m doing and I know how it’s supposed to feel and what it’s supposed to look like. Maybe it’s because it’s just so easy for me that I can’t explain it.” Fossati-Bellani is awarded for her clean and difficult dives, but getting the dives up to competition level is not always easy. The preparation is tedious and wrongly executed dives can be dangerous. When she starts learning a new dive, Fossati-Bellani uses a three meter springboard, the standard flexible and bouncy board. After practice to perfection on the three meter, she moves up to a five meter springboard. “I’m not going to lie, I’m a big, big chicken,” FossatiBellani said. “Each dive takes me a really long time to get it. But when I get it, it comes pretty easily.” Though she claims to be fearful, many people would The Viking | 43
Profiles take one look at the stunts she does and strongly disagree. “Very often I think, oh my god, how brave she is!” Ballerio said. In December, Fossati-Bellani began learning how to do a back two and a half pike. In this dive, the diver stands backward on the board and throws back, flipping twice in the air with their body folded and legs straight, and enter the water head first. In her initial practicing of the dive, Fossati-Bellani only did a two and a quarter pike, landing on her back. The force and momentum from the dive and the impact of the water sent her knees into her face, breaking her nose. Because this was Fossati-Bellani’s second time breaking her nose, she immediately got surgery. For the 13 days following the surgery she wore a face cast. “I didn’t really care,” Fossati-Bellani said. “I went to school with it on and did everything normally. It wasn’t that bad.” Her nose fully recovered and the injury has not effected her diving any further. Next year, Fossati-Bellani is headed to USC, a highly ranked diving school. Though many schools tried to recruit Fossati-Bellani for her diving, she claims her middle school math teacher, Mr. Tsuruda, is responsible for her choice. A popular teacher, Tsuruda left no doubt in students’ minds that he thought his alma mater, USC, was clearly the best in all aspects. “He smashed it into my head,” Fossati-Bellani said. “I really liked him and he was a really cool teacher. I guess that was kind of instilled into my head since seventh grade.” Though Fossati-Bellani does not feel ready for this year’s Olympics in Beijing, she hopes to be able to compete on the Italian team in the 2012 summer Olym<<< pics.
Faccendo un spruzzo (making a splash): Fossati-Bellani launches off the board during practice at Stanford before flipping, twisting and tucking into her dive.
Michela’s Must Haves Dive: Back one and a half pike Food: Chinese Color: Purple Movie: Requiem for a dream Class: Foug’s Animal: Lion Spice Girl: Sporty Celeb crush: Jared Leto 44 | The Viking
Cartoon character: Dexter from Dexter’s laboratory or Mickey Mouse Italian or American boys: Italian! Swim suits or clothes: Bikini Article of Clothing: Plain black Godfather tee-shirt Dream vacation: Fiji
Going Green: Alexandra Groetsema takes on the boys
BY OA NA E N ACH E
Photography by Allen Au
On a blustery Thursday afternoon in March, Palo Alto High School sophomore Alexandra Groetsema rips off a few blades of grass and tosses them in the air. She and her teammate Adam Furlong are about to play a match against two players from Los Gatos High School, but for the moment, grass takes precedence over the game. The blades flutter and swirl through the air, telling her a crucial fact-the direction the wind is blowing. A few blades of grass determine the way Groetsema will hit the ball-in other words, they determine everything. Golf is all about the details.
48 | The Viking
Profiles Groetsema bends over her tee, watching it intently. Taking out her driver and measuring the distance from her hands to the small white cup, she forms a straight and powerful line. She abruptly turns right and takes six steps away from the ball, then looks with a critical eye to the hole in the distance, determining whether the angle is accurate. Five long strides return her to her starting position, where she practices hitting by bringing her driver around quickly in a huge arching loop. It is tee time. Golf is in Groetsema’s blood-her father, grandfather and greatgrandfather all play the game, and she has been playing for five years. “[At first, golf ] kind of rubbed off on me,” Groetsema said. “[But now], I try to practice every day.” Her daily practice and determination to improve are what have taken her to where she is today-playing in the California girls’ state tournament, winner of the 2006 JGANC/PGA match play tournament and the female co-captain of Palo Alto High School’s boys’ golf team. Groetsema does not just play golf; she immerses herself in the game.
mates, but many girls nationwide are forced to play golf on boys’ teams for a simple reason-not that many girls play golf. For girls who do, playing on a boys’ team provides one of the only opportunities to play golf competitively and improve. A 2006 survey by the National Golf Foundation found that only 180,000 girls ages 12-17 play golf competitively throughout the United States, making the number of serious female golfers in one area rather small. For now, Groetsema has established herself as an important part of the Paly golf team. “She makes our team better,” Marchant said. Groetsema has also noticed that her presence on the team has other effects. “When I started playing on the boys’ team, the guys stepped up their games, because they’re not going to let a girl beat them,” she said with a laugh. “But we [also] help each other out in a way and just compete against each other.” Even when playing against other high school boys’ teams, Groetsema is a courteous and caring opponent. When the losing player from Los Gatos stops along the green to hit his ball, she is the only one who waits and watches, even though her ball is much farther ahead. She wants to hurry up and play, but golf has taught her patience.
She takes one last look down the range, and then glances at the ball. Her eyes are shaded by a navy blue hat, but the intensity of her look is obvious from afar. Slowly, she pulls her IN THE ZONE Sophomore Alexandra Groetsema aligns “Golf is a grueling driver back, keeping her herself with the hole as she prepares to putt sport,” she said. “It takes arms tense. Suddenly five hours to play, and a lot and quickly, she swings, can go wrong in those five and the ball catapults away. hours. You have to keep checking your game and keep playing.” Paly does not have a girls’ golf team, which initially prompted Groetsema to try out for the boys’ team her freshShe continues walking silently to her ball, her red golf bag man year. slung perpendicular across her back. Groetsema’s long black po“[When she first tried out for the team] it was differnytail sways from side to side as she stares reflectively down at the ent, since not that many girls try out for boys’ teams,” junior ground. She swings again, sending the ball into the putting green. co-captain Pierce Marchant said. “But once she realized she Watching the ball fly away, she frowns slightly, and then repeats could play with us, it was fine.” the swing again, working towards perfection. Her situation may have seemed unusual to her team46 | The Viking
Profiles “Golf is [a] self-driven [sport],” Groetsema said. “You have to want to go out and practice. You have to want to go play.” She tries to golf every day throughout Palo Alto, from the Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course to her personal favorite, the Stanford Golf Course. Groetsema’s father believes that his daughter’s focus and dedication help her persist in improving her game. “[Golf is] a frustrating, athletic sport,” he said. “It takes time to see improvement in your game.” All four players have now reached the putting green. Groetsema crouches down behind her ball, one hand on her knee and the other cupping her hat. For a moment she does not move but aligns herself to the hole. Putting is her favorite part of the sport. “Putting makes or breaks your game,” she said.
women’s golf there would definitely be more women golfers,” he said. However, Groetsema thinks that women’s golf is unpopular for a very simple reason: clothes. Don’t worry-she’s only half joking. “I think that girls’ golf would be a lot more popular if they made better clothes,” she said. “The clothes they have right now are not so great.” It is finally time to move on to the next hole. Groetsema places her putter in her bag, slips her arms through the shoulder straps, and keeps on playing. She hopes golf will continue to play an important role in her life in the future. “A good education is important for me, [but] doing well in golf is definitely one of my goals,” Groetsema said. She hopes to gain the best of both worlds by playing golf in college, citing Stanford as one of her top choices. Groetsema also remains hopeful about the future of womens’ golf. “There is hope,” she said. “[Golf’s] not just a ‘guy sport’ anymore.” <<<
Compared to the rest of her game, her puts are slow. The flat metal of the putter taps the ball, rolling it slowly towards the hole. For a second, hope flashes across her face, her left arm raises in celebration-and then the ball PERSEVERANCE Groetsema keeps her rolls out along the rim of the hole. Her focus from the tee to the hole. arm drops in disappointment. Determined not to be upset, she putts again and easily Think you’re a golf pro? See how well you speak the language. makes it into the hole.
Can you speak golf? 1. When someone says beach, you think of... a) the sandy shores of Hawaii. b) the sand bunker at your favorite course. c) the area of a golf course where the hole is. 2. A gorilla is... a) a person who hits their tee shot far away. b) a large, hairy monkey. c) a really bad golfer. 3. When you’re under clubbing, you... a) have not been partying enough. b) are hitting the ball short of your target. c) need to buy a few more golf clubs.
Answers: 1)b, 2)a, 3)b
Groetsema just keeps on improving, and so do the prospects for girls’ golf. The National Golf Foundation survey also found that 1.4 million girls ages 5-17 play golf recreationally-so there is a lot of potential for growth in the sport. Marchant believes that the media will also play an important part in increasing golf’s popularity. “If there was more media attention in
The Viking | 47
PROFESSIONAL & COLLEGE SPORTS
50 MARCH MADNESS
>>> The Viking’s official bracket picks. Our crack team of “experts” is convinced that it’s a winner...
52 TOUR OF CALIFORNIA
>>> Cycling hits the mainstream, as the Tour of California roills through Palo Alto. The Viking was on site...
59 FANTASY BASEBALL
>>> (Almost) all you need to get you ready for your fantasy season. Draft do’s and dont’s, as well as a look at players on the rise...
CHAMPS Tyler Hansbrough (left) and Ty Lawson will guide the Tar Heels through the extremely tough eastern region, before cutting down the nets in San Antonio...
EAST 1 North Carolina 16 Play-in Winner
8 Indiana 9 Arkansas
5 Notre Dame 12 George Mason
4 Washington State 13 Winthrop
6 Oklahoma 11 St. Joe’s
3 Louisville 14 Boise State
7 Butler 10 S. Alabama
2 Tennessee 15 American
MIDWEST 1 Kansas 16 Portland State
8 UNLV 9 Kent State
5 Clemson 12 Villanova
4 Vanderbilt 13 Siena
6 USC 11 Kansas State
3 Wisconson 14 Cal State Fullerton
7 Gonzaga 10 Davidson
2 Georgetown 15 UMBC
NCCA Cha USC
Memphis 1 UT-Arlington 16
Mississippi State 8 Oregon 9
Michigan State 5 Temple 12
Pittsburgh 4 Oral Roberts 13
Marquette 6 Kentucky 11
Stanford 3 Cornell 14
Miami 7 St. Mary’s 10
Texas 2 Austin Peay 15
UCLA 1 Mississippi Valley St. 16
BYU 8 Texas A&M 9
Drake 5 Western Kentucky 12
Connecticut 4 San Diego 13
Purdue 6 Baylor 11
Xavier 3 Georgia 14
West Virginia 7 Arizona 10
Duke 2 Belmont 15
f i l a C f o r u To
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a i n r o f
text and photos by Charlie Avis
t is forty-five minutes before his start time and George Hincapie of the United States, dressed in his black and white Team High Road jersey, spins furiously on his stationary trainer. A huge crowd of awestruck fans and photographers has gathered at the High Road tent to watch one of America’s top cyclists prepare for his agonizingly short effort ahead. Hincapie’s soigneur, or team helper, prepares a water bottle filled with electrolyte mix and dabs Hincapie’s face with a towel to keep sweat out of his eyes. The whizzing sound of Hincapie’s rear wheel becomes overwhelmingly loud as his start time looms closer and he picks up his effort. With five minutes remaining, Hincapie sheds his arm and leg warmers, dons his elongated aerodynamic helmet, and then takes his bike off of the stationary trainer. He rides through the pressing crowd, eager to get a look at the Tour de France stage winner and favorite for the 2008 Tour of California. Hincapie enters the start house, an elevated platform with a short ramp to propel the riders onto the course. The clock ticks in front of him, 10 seconds remaining. Focused and unwavering, Hincapie stands on the pedals as the starter counts down from five fingers and then...Beep! He’s off.
photo by Oliver Davies
Previous Page: Fabian Cancellara of Team CSC leads the chase group in Stage 3 of the Tour of California. The Swiss rider had won the Prologue in Palo Alto just three days earlier, taking the yellow leaders jersey for two stages. Above Santa Rosa native and two-time Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer picks his line through the first turn in the Palo Alto prologue. Leipheimer finished the prologue in fourth place, seven seconds behind stage winner Fabian Cancellara. Opposite: Jens Voigt of Germany suffers up Sierra Road behind teammate Bobby Julich during Stage 3. Voigt, last year’s runner-up, finished a sub-par 25th overall.
The Tour of California has grown in size and prestige in the three years since its inaugural race in 2006. Starting in Palo Alto this year, the race lasted seven days, going north all the way to Sacramento before heading through San José and south to the finish in Pasadena. The world’s best cyclists have flocked to California in February for the last three years, not only for the race, but also for the great weather and terrain. With numerous Pro Tour (cycling’s equivalent to the Major Leagues) teams holding training camps in California, the state has become a hot spot in the world of cycling. In contrast to previous years, however, that hot spot centered in Palo Alto. The eyes of the cycling world were on Palo Alto, host to the first prologue (short individual effort) not in San Francisco, for the entire week leading up to Sunday, February 17, the day of the race. “It is great that the little town of Palo Alto gets to experience this huge race,” Paly junior Sydney Lundgren said. Cyclists had a real presence around town that week. All 132 riders stayed and trained around Palo Alto for the entire week and integrated themselves into the Palo Alto community during their brief stay. Local bike shops had meet-the-riders sessions. For those who know cycling, celebrities sightings were common as former world champion and Belgian hero Tom Boonen could be seen sipping java at the downtown Peet’s Coffee. Unlike a football or basketball team whose players are easy to pick out by sheer size, cyclists blend in because even some of the largest cyclists look thin and short. Recreational cyclists lived in heaven for the week, as it was quite common to see the pro teams out training and to jump in behind them and ride for as long as possible. A cycling fever swept through Palo Alto as anticipation built up for the upcoming race. On the bike, however, Hincapie no longer looks slight as he barrels down Hamilton and sweeps across the left hand turn onto Cowper and then on to University. Sprinting out of the corner, he settles in to his aerodynamic position with his elbows in and hands out in front of him. For time trials, professionals use specialized bikes and wheels to reduce wind drag and increase power. Hincapie’s bike is black and grey with thick tubing to reduce frontal surface area. The solid disc wheel in the rear and the tri-spoke wheel in the front make an overwhelming whirring noise that fluctuates with each pedal stroke - the sound of pure power. Hincapie drops underneath Alma Street and the train tracks and sprints over the El Camino overpass. Now he takes a slight jog to the left and hurtles down the long Palm Drive, lined with cheering fans. Come race day, it was not only the cyclists who had a presence in town, but the estimated 200,000 fans that lined the 2.1-mile course as well. From City Hall on Hamilton Road to the oval in front of the Stanford Church, spectators lined the road two to three deep, not to
Get to Know Cycling: A Glossary of Terms
classification is awarded to the rider under 25 years of age who has the lowest accumulative time. Finally, the rider who wins the general classification receives a yellow jersey. The yellow jersey, won by Levi Leipheimer By Charlie avis and Oliver davies in 2008, is the most prestigious and important jersey Time-trials - Specific stages that are usually sprinkled Now that the Tour of California Prologue has come and gone, avid fans of cycling in Palo Alto, and those throughout major stage races where individuals go off new to the sport, witnessed cycling from a close-up every minute and race against the clock. In the Tour perspective, a view many are not lucky enough to see. of California, there were two time-trials, the prologue While watching the Tour of California, you might have in Palo Alto, and the 15-mile Stage 5. Aerodynamics is an essential part of time-trials and specialists in the seen: Peloton - the largest group of riders on the course. discipline can generate lots of power for an extended On flatter stages, the peloton usually stays together period of time while remaining low to reduce wind rein one big pack (see drafting), but often breaks up in sistance. Soigneurs - A key part of each cycling team, responwindy or mountainous conditions. Breakaway, or Break - consists of the group of riders sible for the well-being of the riders. They are crucial that have moved ahead of the peloton and are com- in providing food, clothing, and escort for the riders peting with each other to win the stage, or gain time before, during, and after the race. Union Cycliste Internationale - The UCI is the interahead of their competitors in the peloton. Oftentimes, the break will work together by to increase the dis- national governing body for cycling. It oversees all professional racing events, and disciplines riders on tance between itself and the peloton Drafting - Professional cyclists utilize this technique issues such as doping, a problem plaguing the sport <<< to help eliminate air resistance. Drafting consists of today. riding extremely close, six to twelve inches, in the slipstream of the rider in front. This reduces the amount of power needed to stay behind the rider in front, which is why riders stay in large pelotons on flat courses. Team Cars - Each team has one or two cars that follow behind the race. The cars, driven by the team managers, supply food, clothing, and tactical advice to the riders. Leaders Jerseys - in stage races, there are generally four different classifications, each with a different jersey awarded to the leader in each category: sprints (green jersey), mountains (red and orange), young rider (white), and general classifications (yellow). The sprint classification is determined by points awarded at intermediate sprints and at the finish line. At the top of each climb, points are available to riders and the rider who accumulates the most points wins the classification. Young rider
mention the abundance of fans hanging around the start and finish areas. The number of fans awed Mark Cavendish, a British sprinter for Hincapie’s Team High Road. “Everyone was so enthusiastic,” Cavendish said in a strong English accent. “I think there were more people here per mile than in London last year at the Tour!” Coming from a Brit, this comparison between the London prologue of the 2007 Tour de France is quite surprising. London is hailed by many, if not all, cycling analysts as the most successful Tour de France prologue in the history of the race. The spectators not only had an effect on the often-jovial Cavendish, but his compatriot riding for the American Team Slipstream, David Millar. “This is the same sort of prologue competition at the Tour de France,” Millar said in a press conference following the prologue. “We’ve got George [Hincapie], [Fabian] Cancellara, [Dave] Zabriskie, [Bradley] Wiggins - the best in the world.” The fans scream Hincapie’s name as he flies down under the one kilometer to go sign. He enters the Oval jam packed with spectators, all cheering him on regardless of whether they wanted him to win or not. Staying low and aero, Hincapie sweeps around the Oval passing by the blur that is the Stanford Church. His tongue hangs out of his mouth as he gives an extra effort with 200 meters to go. He lunges across the line in just over four minutes flat, good enough
for 13th place on the day. “The prologue was good,” Hincapie said. “The fans were awesome and I really liked the course.” Numerous Paly students were scattered along the course during the Palo Alto prologue. Senior Phil Schroder, a cycling enthusiast, watched the race from start to finish. “It is cool seeing all the pros do what they do,” Schroder said. “I hope it comes back every year!” To be sure, the dark cloud of doping that seems to follow cycling wherever it goes had an unfortunate presence at this year’s Tour of California. Rock Racing, a team sponsored by the de-
Opposite Top: Mario Cipollini of Rock Racing leads the peloton in Stage three to San Jose. The 40 year old Italian sprinter came out of retirement to race the 2008 Tour of California. Opposite Bottom: John Murphy of Team Healthnet cruises down University Avenue during his run in the Palo Alto Prologue. Bottom: Team Astana sets the pace for the chase group up the Sierra Road climb in stage 3. Levi Leipheimer, hidden behind his Astana teammates in light blue, was the eventual stage runner-up behind Robert Gesink of Rabobank (orange, front right)
Stage by Stage By Elizabeth Scott
On February 17, the crowded streets of downtown Palo Alto could have been easily confused with those of Paris during the famed Tour de France. The third annual Tour of California got off to a fast start with a 2.1-mile time trial through Palo Alto and Stanford. The prologue kicked off the seven-stage race through the state of California. The 132 professional racers were set off one by one to challenge the clock. Fabian Cancellara of team CSC, a two-time world time trial champion, finished first in a speedy 3: 51.211. Bradley Wiggins and Tyler Farrar followed close behind with respective times of 3:55 and 3:56. Despite the fans’ overwhelming excitement, the prologue results had minimal impact on the race’s results as a whole. The first stage was a grueling ninety-seven mile course from Sausalito to Santa Rosa. Jackson Stewart, a Santa Rosa native of team BMC, attempted to pull ahead of the pack but was eventually passed by the larger group. Juan Jose Haedo of team CSC won his fifth stage of his Tour of California career. Germans Gerald Ciolek and Heinrich Haussler follow Haedo for second and third place finishes. The next stage took riders from Santa Rosa to the state capital of Sacramento on a 115.8mile route. The stage ended positively for many sprinters, among them, cycling celebrity Mario Cipollini. Forty-one year old Cipollini, recently out of retirement, finished third, following Tom Boonen and Haussler. The mountainous third stage covered 102.7 miles from Modesto to San Jose. This stage featured the most difficult climbs of the tour including Mount Hamilton and Del Puerto Canyon Road. The hills hurt many riders, but created the perfect arena for a competitive chase between Cancellara, defending champion Levi Leipheimer and Robert Gesink. The final standings left Gesink, Leipheimer and Jurgen Vandewalle placing first through third respectively. The next stage tested the riders’ endurance with a 135.3 mile trek from Seaside to San Luis Obispo. Pouring rain plagued the cyclists over the seven-hour ride. In addition, the medical staff was called in to treat many riders taken down by violent stomach flus and hypothermia. Dominique Rollin pushed crowd favorite George Hincapie out of his first place in the final miles. Hincapie took second and Iker Camano Ortuzer took third. The fifth stage was a fifteen-mile time-trial. Leipheimer maintained his growing lead with David Millar and Christian Vandevelde close behind in second and third places. The next stage, 105.4 miles from Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita, came to a dramatic finish. Mark Cavendish of team UCI crossed the finish line first, but was charged with a 20 second penalty for holding onto the team car during the race. Andre Pagliarini Mendonca, Haedo and Bettini placed first through third. The final 93.4-mile stage from Santa Clarita to Pasadena did not affect Leipheimer’s strong overall lead. The course finished with six five-mile loops around the Pasadena Rose Bowl through the rain. Leipheimer’s success in the third stage and second time trial secured his second consecutive Tour of California win. The 650-mile race tested the endurance of the worlds’ strongest cyclists. Though not as prestigious the larger European races, the Tour of California will contend in coming years. <<<
signer jeans company Rock and Republic, Tour teams. The scenery is hard to match back causes serious jet lag, so an early seahad three riders suspended just before the as well. Credit Agricole, a French Pro Tour son race allows the riders to spend a month start of the prologue. Tyler Hamilton of the team that made the trip out to California for or so in California training before heading United States, who completed his two-year this year’s race, all started cheering, and back to Europe. suspension for doping last summer, was one saying the French equivalent to “look at However, the Tour of California is more of the riders unable to compete along with that” when they saw the Pacific coast from than just an exciting sporting event. ForSpaniards Oscar Sevilla and Santiago Bot- Stage Road in Pescadero, according to rec- mer Palo Alto mayor Yoriko Kishimoto is ero. The infamous doping investigation Op- reational cyclist John Toor’s account of a an avid cyclist who strongly supports the eracion Puerto re-opened in Spain the week training ride with the team. event for environmental reasons. In her before the prologue, and as a result, AEG, One of the few problems with the Tour of short speech during the podium ceremonies the race promoter, suspended the involved California, however, is its timing. February after the prologue, Kishimoto urged everyriders from the race. is still very early in a season that starts in one to ride bicycles to work everyday and Hamilton, winner of the 2003 Liège- January and continues through September. labeled the bicycle as a symbol of the green Bastogne-Liège, a stage in the 2003 Tour de Full-out efforts are not ideal in a pre-sea- economy. France, and the “I’m a big sup2004 Olympic porter of kids Time Trial, was being able to one of America’s walk and bike to top cyclists until school,” Kishimhis positive test oto said, “of comafter the Olymmuters being able pics landed him to cycle to work a two year ban sometimes to stay from racing. in shape.” The 2008 Tour The green idea of California was a major factor was highly anin the decision to ticipated as a host the prologue new beginning in Palo Alto. Jim of his career, Ochowicz, Presibut past involvedent of USA Cyment with percling, and a Palo formance enAlto resident hancing drugs (whose son Alex, seems to have a ‘07, attended Paly lingering effect before transferon his race parring to a boarding ticipation. school in WisconClimb Chris Horner of Team Astana leads teammate Levi Leipheimer and Dutchman Robert The sport of sin) first proposed Gesink up the Sierra Road climb in stage 3. Gesink out-sprinted Leipheimer at the finish for the cycling is mak- stage win, but Leipheimer gained time against his competitors for the General Classification. the idea to then ing large strides mayor Kishimoto towards a clean, drug-free sport, and harsh son race, hence the relatively easy course. last summer. Kishimoto was intrigued as the consequences have become the norm for Compared to the Tour de France, the stages race presented the opportunity to “create a riders and teams involved in doping. The are less hilly and there are certainly no hill- green economy through innovation.” She organizers of the Tour de France, Amaury top finishes where the race ends at the top liked the idea of thousands of people flockSports Organization (ASO), recently an- of a climb. The Tour de France road races ing to Palo Alto, mostly on bikes, to watch nounced that Astana, team of two-time Tour average about the same length as the Tour of a bike race. As a perfect opportunity to proof California winner Levi Leipheimer and California’s stages, but the Tour de France mote bicycling in the community, Kishimodefending Tour de France champion Alberto time trials are just about double the length to did not hesitate to say yes. Contador, of California’s. Time trials in the 2008 Tour The Tour of California is growing rapAlthough the Tour of California is not de France reach lengths of 53km, or just idly in popularity and importance. More quite on the scale of the Tour de France, over 30 miles, compared to California’s 15 and more spectators come out each year and Giro d’Italia, or other Pro Tour events, it is mile time trial. the level of racing has quickly established quickly establishing itself as a prominent There are benefits to the early season itself worthy of the Pro-Tour level. The race stage race in the professional racing circuit. too. California generally has good weather organisers have tossed around teh idea of No other race in the United States can boast early in the season and the field has more lengthening the race to two, maybe three the same depth in the peloton as the Tour star power than it would later in the year. weeks, but for now the Tour of California of California with more than five current or For a European racer to take a week to fly remains the premier weeklong stage race in former world champions and nine UCI Pro across the world to California and then fly February. <<<
Fantasy Baseball Forecast 2008 Draft Do’s and Do Not’s
By Oliver Davies and Greg Stewart
With the 2008 Major League Baseball season quickly approaching, it is nearly time for fantasy nerds and baseball geeks to begin preparations for their fantasy baseball drafts. The draft is the most essential part of the season; where the veterans separate from the fantasy rookies. It is also the first step towards claiming bragging rights over friends and family alike. Our expert analysis will prepare you for your draft with do’s and do not’s, along with three players on the rise and three players to steer clear from when your draft day arrives.
- Pick A-Rod first overall there is no better choice. - Make sure your starting roster is solid before wor worrying about depth. - 2nd baseman are few and far between, make sure to get your hands on one early.
- Draft a closer in the early rounds. Draft them in the later rounds, or pick them up in free agency. - Rely on older players (30+) to lead your team to a fantasy championship, build a team around young stars, players who are likely to hit their prime.
On The Rise...
On The Decline...
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox:
Carlos Delgado, 1B, Mets:
Projects to be the next Johnny Damon with defense. Look for Ellsbury to steal loads of bases and to be a run scoring machine in the stacked Red Sox line-up. Be sure to take Ellsbury in your fantasy draft
Chad Billingsley, SP, Dodgers:
Projected to be the Dodgers third starter in a pitcher friendly park, Chavez Ravine, Billingsley will surely add to his 2007 win total of 12 with a stellar sophomore season.
Josh Fields, 3B, White Sox:
Upon replacing Joe Crede at third base for the White Sox, Fields lived up to his power potential blasting 23 home runs in 100 games. Expect a 30 home run season from this young slugger.
Once one of the most feared hitters in the game, age has finally taken its toll on Delgado. Delgado likely won’t play more than 100 games, as he is often-injured.
Aaron Rowand, OF, Giants:
After cashing in on an incredible contract season, Rowand will spend the next five years in a notorious pitcher’s park, surrounded by a no-name supporting cast.
Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Mariners:
Always the speedster from Japan, Ichiro is beginning to lose that 30 SB speed and .350 quickness as he approaches 34 years old. While his numbers will still be solid, don’t expect first or second round value, a mistake many are likely to make. The Viking | 59
/26 0-4 ys’ Tennis 4/2 Bo vs.HearT sacred
The reigning National High School Boys’ Team Tennis champions visit Paly in a match that will test the Vikes like no other this season. The Gators are led by seniors Erik Blumenkranz and Jamie Hutter at the number one and two singles spots. This experienced duo will be a true litmus test for Paly’s one-two combo of Kushal Tantry and Baramee Wongbanchai, heading into league playoffs...
This invitational challenge, in its third year at Paly’s very own Mackenzie Family Aquatic
GAME OF THE WEEK 9
Paly’s top track and field athletes will take part in the nationally acclaimed Arcadia Invitational in Los Angeles. The race, which in its 40 years of existence has seen 23 national records set and 101 future Olympians compete, brings together some of the best talent in the country. Sophomore Philip MacQuitty won the ‘rising stars’ mile division at last years meet with a 4:23.11 time...
Complex, brings together the best of north3 irls’ ern California’s swimming and diving talent. 4/1 nd G The top five teams from the Central Coast ivinG Section Boys’ a (CCS) and the North Coast Section inG/d cs (NCS) will be competing. Look for Liv Jensen swimm ccs/n nGe to defend her 50 and 100 free titles in this meet... cHalle
4/ and Field Track ia arcadional inviTaT /5 0-4 3/3
BaseBa vs. Gunn
The perennial rivals face off once again on the baseball diamond, where the teams split last year’s series, winning a game apiece. The Titans graduated a number of key players, including standout shortstop Tucker Laurence and pitcher Jay Perlman. The Vikes also graduated key starters, but senior catcher Peter Abrams and junior pitcher Steven Burk will pick up the slack in this crucial meeting...
7 14 21 28
Sacred Heart (3:00)
vs. Gunn (3:45) @ Saratoga (3:30)
APRIL AY 30 SUND
6 13 20 27
Softball Boysâ€™ Tennis Track and Field Swimming and Diving
Badminton Lacrosse Baseball Golf
@ Wilcox (3:30)
vs. Milpitas (3:30) vs. Tamalpais (3:30)
@ Los Altos (3:00)
vs. Gunn (3:45) vs. Saratoga (3:30)
@ Lynbrook (3:30) @ Fremont (2:45) vs. Menlo (4:00) @ Milpitas (3:00)
@ Lynbrook (3:30) @ Gunn (3:30) @ Lynbrook (3:30) @ Castilleja (4:00) @ Mountain View (2:45) vs. Mountain View (3:30) @ Monta Vista (3:30) @ Saratoga (4:00) vs. Menlo (3:30) @ Mountain View (3:30) vs. Los Gatos (5:30) vs. Menlo (3:30) @ Lynbrook (3:30) vs. Los Altos (3:30) vs. Wilcox (4:00) vs. Los Altos (3:30)
@ Menlo (4:00) @ Gunn (4:00) vs. Gunn (3:30) vs. Gunn (3:30)
22 @ Lynbrook (3:30) vs. Cupertino (4:00) SCVALS (1:00)
29 @ Lynbrook (3:30) vs. Sacred Heart (4:00) vs. Gunn (4:00)
vs. Gunn (3:30) vs. Leland (4:00) Stanford Invitational vs. Lynbrook (3:30)
@ Milpitas (3:30) vs. Saratoga (3:30)
18 Section Challenge vs. Pioneer (4:00)
25 vs. Wilcox (3:30) @ Woodside (4:00) Oregon Invitational vs. Monta Vista (3:30)
The Last Word
My “Final” Number Well, Paly, we’ve had a good run these past four years. I will sincerely miss all my teachers by Austin Smith and fellow seniors. If you’re noticing the tone of this column, it is very reminiscent of a farewell. That’s exactly what it is. Consider this my big, show-stopping, “I’m-leaving-this-town” musical number. Logic would place this column in The Viking’s end of the year issue, but I want to make it entirely clear to everyone, especially you, Paly: we’re done here. Business has concluded. I am a second semester senior. As far as I’m concerned, this is the perfect time for a farewell column. So where do we go from here, fellow seniors? It’s a daunting question. If you don’t know me, I’m not the type of person who likes to have a plan in life. As kids, we’ve been getting asked what it is we want to be when we grow up since as long as I can remember. The only difference now is that now our answers are actually being taken seriously. Before, it was cute to say, “I want to be a firefighter, mommy!” If I said that to my family now, I would be out on the street so fast you have no idea. To be honest, though, I think I have matured enough to take a firm stab at the question. It has changed so much over the years and, looking back, I realize that a lot of my ideas were brilliant, but just not practical. I used to have sports-related goals in life (see, this does relate to sports.) One was that I wanted to travel through the Philippines teaching baseball. I did try to teach my cousins when I was there. They enjoyed it, but the fact is, it’s not really a football-baseball type of country. Think more along the lines of basketball and cockfighting. I also had a phase where I wanted to be a male model. Nothing heavy, just some hand (my hands are gorgeous) or calf modeling. It seemed like a good idea, but then I met varsity baseball player Neal Ketchum for the first time and got really self-conscious after that. So instead, I realized that I could channel Neal’s inspiration and be a fashion designer. I would be living the life in Europe, designing high-end fashion based on Neal. One problem: I’d need to either kidnap the real Neal or somehow get measurements for an exact replica, wax-figure model of him, which I have already been working on since sixth grade (Helene, I need some help with certain measurements.) 62 | The Viking
The truth is, I’ve shied away from most of those plans. Not because I dismiss them as ridiculous like my parents do, but because I’ve found something even better (and more mature as well.) I plan to become (…you’re gonna have to wait for the buildup on this one…) a dance club owner! You heard it here first. I plan to be the youngest, most successful club owner in all of Ibiza (Look it up, it’s Mediterranean.) Allow me to explain how this revelation came upon me. I have three frequently recurring dreams. One includes a barrel of raw fish, a stack of comic books, and an impostor dressed in a Mickey Mouse costume. The second I would rather not talk about. The third, however, is where my club fever comes from. The setting is my upstairs hallway after a long night of studying. I climb the stairs to find a long line of people heading into my bathroom. I stop to ask someone what the line is for, and it turns out to be my first grade teacher, Ms. Argenti. She tells me there’s a party in there, but I gotta wait in line to get in. Although a little pissed that I’m waiting in line to get into my own bathroom, I act the gentleman and wait my turn. When I finally get in, I realize she wasn’t lying. It is a party, a party in my shower. The water is running but, don’t worry, everyone is clothed (except Kushal Tantry.) Faces look familiar and I start to recognize people. My grandma’s seventy-year-old friend Lucy. This guy I met on the train. Cross-country coach Jeff Billing. The place is just packed with every single person I’ve ever met in my life. Somehow, my shower is big enough to hold them all. The lights are blazing and the music is thumping, and people start dancing. That’s how it usually goes. Ms. Van Der Burg busts a couple moves, and she’s good too, then I wake up nice and happy. I’ve been wanting to say this for a long time, so here it goes: I would like to formally invite everyone to a party in my shower. In all seriousness, The Shower is going to be the hottest thing on the club scene. The best DJs, trippiest lighting, and trademark continuous water flow from the ceiling will put us on the map and, as a special treat, just drop the name Paly and you’re in. Like I said though, it’s not my style to plan out anything too concrete. For all I know, I may just resort to chilling through life on my rice plantation. I expect everyone else who fails at life, after they’ve given up on their dreams and aspirations, to join Kushal and I there. So I bid a sad farewell, Paly. It’s going to be a harder breakup than I thought. I wish I could quit you! It’s not you it’s me. I just think it’s time we see other people.
I would formally like to invite everyone to a party in my shower.
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