Page 1


KEY GAME #3 Vs. Valley Christian

@ LOS GATOS W 42-0

Lucky number 13. The Palo Alto High School football team prevailed over Valley Christian High School 21-14, continuing its undefeated run while taking home the Central Coast Section Open Division championship. The Vikings improve to 4-0 against West Catholic Athletic League opponents, having taken down the WCAL’s top three teams in the CCS playoffs. “They got public schooled, that’s all there is to say,” linebacker Michael Cullen (‘11) said.

The Vikings pitched a shutout over their perennial rivals, the Los Gatos Wildcats. The Los Gatos offense had no answer for the Viking defense, that continued to harass the Wildcats all game, allowing only three first downs in the first three quarters. “[Our guys are] warriors,” Paly defensive coordinator Jake Hallas said. “They tried to power and beat up on people, and we were like heat-seeking missiles all night.” The dominant performance by Paly was the Vikings coming out party; proving to the rest of the De Anza League they were a force to be reckoned with.


itty nd o











Cat rou e h t “T e firs h t in CCS


Vs. Mitty W 13-10

t men

o ” Vs. M M t s f ch



W 21-14

The Palo Alto High School football team scripted its own episode of “Friday Night Lights” in the first round of the Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs, pulling off a miraculous last minute 13-10 victory over visiting Archbishop Mitty High School. With 35 seconds left, on what could have been the last play of the season for the undefeated Vikings, Bono threw a perfect pass to the outside shoulder of wide receiver Davante Adams (‘11) in the back left corner of the end zone for a touchdown. “That was the best throw I have ever seen in my entire life,” Adams said.

Photo by Alex Kershner

Best Championship Performance Maurice Williams






F O R E V E R .” - Head volle

yball coach

Photos (top to bottom) Matt Ersted, Alex Kershner

Dave Winn

A Season to R KICKOFF




15|VIKING TRIES JAI ALAI by Dustin Nizamian

Photo by Alex Kershner

P Contributing cover photographers: Alex Kershner, Brandon Dukovic, Matt Ersted. Design by Mary Albertolle Page one photos: Matt Ersted (volleyball), Alex Kershner (football).


January 2011 Volume IV Issue 3


Over the Top 26| FOOTBALL by Mary Albertolle and Mark Raftrey Additional reporting by Alan Lamarque

Teenage Dream


FEATURES 34| PUSHING UP MORALE The Viking profiles the man who inspires fans, athletes and parents alike. by Kevin Kannappan



Paly student-athletes tell us what they believe it takes to rise to the top of the coaching ranks. by Nathan Norimoto and Paige Borsos

Photo by Brandon Dukovic

LAST WORD 41|ZOOM 43|PREVIEWS A quick look at the winter sports of basketball, soccer and wrestling.

47|LAST WORD Michael Cullen reflects on his distinguished Paly football career, and his final game in the green and white. by Michael Cullen




Staff View: F


Building on a Legacy

lash back to winter break of 2006. Every student currently attending Palo Alto High School was still in middle or elementary school. The varsity volleyball team had just completed a 27-9 (9-3) season in which they won the De Anza Division championship. The varsity football team had completed arguably the greatest championship run in school history, winning the CCS Open division championship and advancing to the first ever CIF state championship bowl game. For middle school athletes across Palo Alto, the players on these teams seemed like ultimate, super-athletes, impervious to anything even resembling defeat. Those of us currently on The Viking recall our memories of these players,

championship seasons are the result of the right combination of hard work, dedication, desire, talent and team chemistry, with a little bit of luck on the side. An aspiring freshman football player may think it is impossible to jump as high as Davante Adams (‘11) or throw with the pin-point accuracy of Christoph Bono (‘11). However, without the chemistry the two have developed through hours of preseason preparation throwing to each other, that stunning catch against Mitty in the playoffs may never have happened, and nobody would be talking about a championship season. An aspiring freshman volleyball player may be overwhelmed by Melanie Wade’s (‘12) kills, which seem to be fired straight toward the

and the image of those teams as “untouchable”. For us, the prospect of one day surpassing them seemed possible only in our dreams. Flash forward to winter break of 2010. This year’s volleyball team soared beyond the accomplishments of the ‘06 team, finishing 41-1 and winning Paly’s first CCS and State championships. They shattered just about every record in the books finishing with the most wins in school history and a number two national ranking according to On the gridiron, the 2010 football team completed the impossible, winning the state championship over nationally ranked powerhouse Centennial. The Vikings finished their perfect season 14-0 and ranked 13th in the nation by Maxpreps. The Viking believes that while these achievements may seem daunting to an underclassman or upcoming middle school athlete hoping to one day be as great as some of Paly’s current stars, they are not the work of “untouchable” athletes with talent that comes around once in a generation. These

floor from a cannon, or the powerful swing of Trina Ohms (‘11), but if the volleyball team had not put in hours of practice to develop their seamless offensive attack, it is doubtful they would have fought off two match points to defeat Long Beach Poly in the state championship. The Viking knows how overwhelming these accomplishments may seem to an upcoming Paly athlete in any sport, since seemingly every team in the green and white is part of a winning culture. For that, all our coaches, our athletic director Earl Hansen and our new principal Phil Winston deserve our thanks. The Viking knows what it is like to feel the weight of expectations pressing down on an aspiring athlete’s shoulders. To those underclassmen or upcoming Paly athletes feeling this pressure, it doesn’t take freakish athletic talent to accomplish your goals; it takes practice, determination, dedication and willingness to put the team before the individual. These are some of the qualities that all Paly athletes can demonstrate, no matter their natural abilities. <<<

While these achievements may seem daunting to an underclassman or upcoming middle school athlete hoping to one day be as great as some of Paly’s current stars, they are not the work of “untouchable” athletes with talent that comes around once in a generation.


Online Exclusives Best Upsets

A look at the greatest upsets in Paly and professional sports history The 2006 basketball team lead by current NBA guard Jeremy Lin which upset Mater Dei for the Division II State Title. Or the 2010 football team that went 14-0 and won the Division I State Championship over the nationally fifth ranked Centennial Huskies. BY ALAN LAMARQUE

Faking Injuries

Learn how athletes pull off fake injuries, to get their way against the referees In the summer of 2010 all eyes were focused on Johannesburg, South Africa. The first world cup to take place in South Africa brought forth new levels of soccer, new numbers of fans and a newly renewed tactic of flopping. BY BRENNAN MILLER AND MIRA AHMAD

Transition to High School

The tranistion fom middle to high school can be tough, especially for athletes Jordan, Jane Lathrop Stanford and Terman. Most of us came from one of these middle schools. When we competed against each other then, the last thing on our minds was that these opponents would soon be our teammates. But now our time in middle school has come and gone, and the schools have combined into two high schools. Opponents are teammates and old teammates are now opponents. BY ANNE HILDEBRAND

See the rest of these stories and more at Dear Reader, This past fall, Palo Alto High School made history by winning state championships in both volleyball and football. Instead of the usual issue three of The Viking, we decided that these two state championships merit more recognition: a special edition. Throughout the issue, you will find The Viking’s keynote features like the Pop Culture Grid, Zooms, Inside the Mind and Viking Tries. However, from page 16 to 33 we have included a special section which highlights the achievements of Paly’s football and volleyball teams. As the editors, we would like to extend our congratulations to the amazing athletes and the supportive Palo Alto community that made this possible. Inside we’ve included special innovative features like glossy pages, player cards and even a commemorative poster so that this season lives on for longer than just a few days. Put it on your wall, take it along to college or frame it. This is a once in a lifetime season for Paly sports. All the best,

Staff List Editors-in-Chief Mary Albertolle George Brown Will Glazier

Business Managers Sam Maliska Talia Moyal Jack Smale

Managing Editors Gracie Marshall Mariah Philips Mark Raftrey Alistair Thompson

Staff Mira Ahmad Paige Borsos Sam Borsos John Dickerson Skylar Dorosin Marina Foley Kevin Kannappan Charlie Kelsey Emy Kelty Matt Lam Alan Lamarque Brennan Miller Nathan Norimoto Shannon Scheel Alana Schwartz Ben Sneider

Design Editor Cooper Levitan Photo Editors Brandon Dukovic Alex Kershner Copy Editors Peter Dennis Sam Greene Anne Hildebrand Columnists Michael Cullen Dustin Nizamian

Contributing Photographer Matt Ersted

Adviser Ellen Austin The Viking Palo Alto High School 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301 650-329-3837 Email contact: Letters to the editor The Viking, a sports magazine published by the students in Palo Alto High School’s Advanced Magazine Journalism class, is an open forum for student expression and the discussion of issues of concern to its readership. The Viking is distributed to its readers and the student body at no cost. The staff welcomes letters to the editor, but reserves the right to edit all submissions for length, grammar, potential libel, invasion of privacy and obscenity. Advertising in The Viking The staff publishes advertisements with signed contracts providing they are not deemed by the staff inappropriate for the magazine’s audience. For more information about advertising with The Viking, please contact the The Viking by email at or call 650-329-3837 for more information. Printing Services The Viking is printed six times a year by Fricke-Parks Press in Fremont, Calif.

George, Mary & Will

January 2011






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combined record of the Paly football and volleyball teams

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POP CULTURE GRID Charlie Jones (‘11) Basketball

Alec Wong (‘12) Basketball

Danielle Palmer (‘14) Basketball

Favorite holiday tradition

Going to Chicago to visit famliy

Going to Tahoe

Putting the star on the Christmas tree

Worst gift ever received


Dress pants

Ski or snowboard


Hot or cold Favorite style of eggs


Cold Fried/over easy

Ski Cold Sunny side up with a lot of Tobasco and a slice of toast

Gracie Cain (‘11) Soccer

Josh Totte (‘14) Soccer

Cutting down the Christmas tree

Pigging out with the fam

Toy clown

Tape recorder

Expired bag of gummy worms









Scrambled with a lot of cheese

7 Things to Know about Coach Hansen 1) He is 58 years old. 2) He coached Jim Harbugh. 3) His moustache cannot be replicated. 4) He goes to The Oasis after every Paly football game. 5) He went to Cubberly High School. 6) He was a lifeguard back in the day at the local swimming pool. 7) He will never run a shotgun formation.

Want real-time Paly sports updates, pictures, videos and game recaps? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter at: “The Viking Magazine”




Paly Volleyball


Paly Football


Hitting the Slopes


The Luck of the Trees

SoCal Sports

Let’s give it up to the girls’ volleyball team for manhandling Southern California’s Longbeach Polytechnic. They served ‘em, literally, enough spikes to drown ‘em out and put them under the Viking influence. Now owning a State Championship after a (41-1) record, they stand 10th in the nation.

A state championship and an unprecedented 14-0 record speaks for itself. 2010 football will go down in the books this season, marking a new era for Paly sports. They smoked Corona Centenial out of their own home town en route to a youtubely sensational bus ride.

It doesn’t get much better than this, guys. Lake Tahoe is packed with 50 inches (and counting) of fresh white goodness ready to be shredded up. Pack up your boards, pick up your passes and everyone be sure to make plans. It’s time to hit the slopes, Palo Alto style.

It can’t get much better for Palo Alto fall sports right now. In addition to all our championship teams at Paly, the No. four ranked Stanford football team capped off its best season in school history with a dominating 40-12 win over the thirteenth ranked Virginia Tech Hokies in the Orange Bowl.

No one wants to see those frail little forwards hit the turf to pull fouls. At this point, we’d rather see them man up and get knocked down from the air than hit the deck without giving a decent effort. Keep your heads and play the game the legit way. Just do it.

How about Stanford womens’ soccer for the second year in a row? They bust out a solid season to make it to the NCAA championship but just can’t seem to finish. Come on girls, put ‘em away for once. We can’t handle having the East Coast top us twice over. No more. Please.

The Viking’s own Gracie Marshall put it lightly (check out for the whole story). The Paly bleachers this year were anything but filled with students and bubbling with spirit. Really Paly? Football goes (14-0) and we have a ghost town reppin’ it at the home games. At least we got people to SoCal.

When it came down to crunch-time, no one could stop Paly. Despite Centennial, and Long Beach Poly had higher national rankings, yet the underdogs prevailed asserting their dominance in both volleyball and football.


January 2011


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Career and College Counseling

Including 100% of the Teacher Advisory Program

Student Guidance

Including Link Crew for freshman orientation

Career/Technology Electives Including Biotechnology and a Java class at Foothill

Go to to donate today.

Photo by Brandon Dukovic


Wrestler Kalen Gans (â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;12) pins an opponent in Palyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s romp of Saratoga on Jan. 6. The Vikings defeated the Falcons in 10 of 13 matches, winning by a final score of 68-10 in their first dual meet of the season.

Inside the Mind of

ON HOOPS I got started playing basketball in sixth grade and I wasn’t really that good. I was just aggressive and I always hit people a lot. Then I really got serious in ninth grade. I really wanted to play varsity so I played during that summer where I got a lot better. ON TRACK Track was pretty random. I started because I wanted to get fit for basketball, so I started running. Then once I started running in track [the coaches] wanted to recruit me to high jump. Basically last year I got first team all league on JV, so I’m going to high jump and try throwing this year. ON DUNKING Ninth grade year I told everyone I was going to be able to dunk by my senior year. I thought I was going to grow taller but I’m still working on it. I think I can touch the bottom of the net, but not the rim yet. ON FOULING OUT I’m pretty physical. I am known for fouling out of many games but I’m trying to work on that. I just get so into the game. Actually, I just like to hit people. I like to bump them and stuff. Sometimes I go too far and I get five fouls and then I’m out [for the rest of the game] and then I get pissed that I’m out.

Lindsay Black BY JACK SMALE

ON DOUGIE-ING That’s like my theme song right now. You can play that and I get pumped every time. You can ask anybody on the team and I can Dougie. I’m trying to teach everybody [on the team] how to do it but it’s not going so well. I’m a pro. ON SINGING I’ve been singing since I was in like fourth grade. I like singing so much that I don’t have a prep because in order for me to sing I have to take choir. My voice sounds good with jazz music but I like to sing all types of music, I just like the way I sound. I sang the national anthem at the semi-finals of the volleyball CCS game. ON AMERICAN IDOL In August -- I think it was August 19th -- I waited in line from 5 a.m. ‘till like 10 to get into the [San Francisco] Giants stadium. Then I waited there all day until like seven o’clock until I got to sing and then [the executive producers] passed me through into the next round. So I circled around the whole field and then I talked to some producers about some stuff and the next day I had another tryout. So I tried out, got into the second round, but when I got in the room I kinda messed up on my song. I got farther than the other people I knew that went to Paly and tried out though. ON GOING TO THE CLUB Yeah I go to the clubs, you know, safe and sober always. People say I go to the club a lot but I guess I do because I’m always there. I’m going to tone that down a bit now though. I kinda didn’t go to the [volleyball] state finals [game] to go to [club] Illusions. That wasn’t the original plan but I did, bad decision.

Lindsay Black (‘12), a dougie master renowned by many and a dominating force on the basketball court, was kind enough to talk to the The Viking about what goes on in her mind.

January 2011



Where is Everybody?

If you win it, they will come

Photo by Alex Kershner


RIDIN’ SOLO Gracie Marshall (‘11), the lone ranger in the Paly bleachers, reminisces about the way Viking spirit used to look.



hen I first entered Palo Alto High School

as a wee little freshman, the home of the green and white was a different place. For one, if you were not a senior you quickly learned that the deck was like the hot lava monster in elementary school-you NEVER stood on it. A casual stroll across it before school? Think twice. Briskly cutting across it to avoid being late to class? Don’t even try it. Throwing your trash away in the garbage cans next to the deck? I’m not even going to answer that. It was a no-brainer, almost as if it was innately stored in my brain before I stepped foot on campus: the SENIOR deck is for SENIORS only. Another rule of thumb that I came to accept was the Friday night tradition. The student section at football games was reserved for upperclassmen only. Heck, I did not even sit in the bleachers when I was a freshman. Instead, I found

myself socializing with middle-schoolers by the snack shack. It was not until my sophomore year that I made the transition to the stands and even then I knew to keep my distance. I obediently took my spot right next to the band. It was not until my third year of high school that I finally earned my seat in the glorified student section. Back then it felt like a rite of passage. Now ask any underclassman and they would have no clue that such tradition exists. However, thinking about it now I cannot blame them. When I was a freshman, the student section was one big intimidating gaggle of devout followers. Even if I wanted to sit among the array of green and white, I would not be able to find myself a seat because it was so full. But nowadays the freshmen and sophomores do not know any better. They would have no idea that the once sacred section is reserved

Kristin Fitzsimmons

for upperclassmen only because there is so much seating available. To be blunt, the class of 2011 and 2012 has done a horrible job of maintaining the tradition. The number of Paly students who attend the games has plummeted significantly since I first came to school here, and the exclusive, upperclassmen-only student section has sunk right along with it. Consequently, overall school spirit has been lagging. Stu-

of spirit they blew Paly fans out of the water. It goes to show what impact a good half time performance can have on the allegiance of the fan base. So why doesn’t Paly have something like this? I am not saying that we need to bring in the military to train us in gun twirling but we need something to pump us up, something to excite the crowd. What we need is a mascot. Or better yet, a state championship. The West Catholic

It turns out Paly does not need someone to throw on the horns, braid and Hulk Hogan moustache in order to attract the fans to the stands, a flawless 14-0 season took care of it.

dents are not as pumped up for the games as they used to be and show less support for their fellow classmates on the field. Considering how well this years football team has been playing, it is a shame that they do not have a more enthusiastic and supportive fan base. Luckily, this problem can be salvaged. When I attended the Paly vs. Saratoga game on November 12 I was amazed at the number of fans in Saratoga’s stands. For a team that finished 2-4 in league and second to last in the De Anza League (Gunn finished last with a 0-6 record), this turnout was impressive. At half time I knew why. After both teams had cleared the field a colossal structure was wheeled on to the field, followed by three dozen students bearing guns, another dozen twirling flags and the Saratoga Band, which boasted about 100 members. The show they put on was like something you would expect to see at a college football game. They spanned the entire field, implementing ramps, ladders and the monstrous, multi-layered structure that sat in the middle of the field into their routine. Their masterful use of the streamers and guns put Disney Channel’s “Cadet Kelly” to shame. Saratoga would go on to lose the game 14-28, but in terms

Athletic League (WCAL) sweep in the Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs gave the Viking supporters the kick in the rear that they needed; a wake up call was administered that shook them from their catnap and placed them on the Paly sidelines where they should have been the entire season. As the football squad conquered Archbishop Mitty, Bellarmine, and finally Valley Christian in the CCS championship game, the number of fans in Paly’s bleachers, progressively increased. But just as talk circulated that the San Francisco Giants’ post-season supporters were made up of a large number of fair-weather fans, same has been said for the sudden increase in green and white clad Paly goers. Regardless of rather this rumor holds any truth or not, one thing is for sure, the state championship victory sparked a fire under the feet of the Paly community and they showed up; they rallied behind the 50 young men who brought the city of Palo Alto its first state championship in its history. So it turns out Paly does not need someone to throw on the horns, braid and Hulk Hogan moustache in order to attract the fans to the stands, a flawless 14-0 season took care of it. <<<

TEXTING, REALLY? Paly fans appear unispired, opting to text a pal rather than root on their classmates on the football field.

Photo by Brandon Dukovic

January 2011



The Viking Tries... Jai Alai!

Tries... Basque-ing in the culture...

Jai Alai*


First things first,

I must give credit where credit is due. So Rowan Thompson, you humble genius you, I give my cordial thanks for your wonderful idea. The suggestion was simple enough: Jai Alai, the “fastest spectator sport in the world” and that tantalizingly interesting clip you’ve seen in the Most Interesting Man in the World commercial. Now, full disclosure, we weren’t actually able to try Jai Alai. The only place in the United States with courts big enough is Florida and as much as we’d have loved to, we just don’t have the budget...yet. Don’t be too disappointed though. It may not have been the fastest sport in the world but what I found in my search for this mysterious sport was much less humdrum than you might think. Jai Alai, it turns out, is simply the steroidenhanced cousin in a whole family of ball-and-wall sports, and these sports are just the tip of the iceberg in a unique and close-knit culture, that of the Basque. The Basque country is a region spanning seven provinces in Europe, four in Spain and three in France. The Basque

language is a mystery in itself. With no discernible roots or definite origin, it stands alone as the only remaining language in Western Europe that predates the Indo-European Romance languages-but I digress... The culture is rich and the food is richer, but nothing about the Basque is more unique than their love of playing ball. To get a taste of what these traditional sports are all about, trusted colleague Sam Maliska (‘11) and I drove to the San Francisco Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco, which is fully equipped with a 36 meter court and a Zagatrated restaurant for good measure. Sam and I met two members of the club, Gratien Etchebehere and David Alfaro, who were rallying one Monday evening at the otherwise deserted club. Gratien, a tall, bearded man and David, a good linebacker build, proved to be two of the nicest people I’ve met in Viking Tries history. After being notified of our coming just minutes before our arrival, the two nonetheless taught

MAD HOPS Sam Maliska (‘11) skies for a shot, displaying his amazing athleticism and making for quite the head-scratching moment.


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Sam and me all that would fit between our ears about the Basque people, culture, and sports. Gratien and David introduced us to two paddled versions of the game, “Paleta Cuero” and “Pala Corta”. Both essentially use wooden paddles to knock a hard, roughly golf-sized, leather ball across the three-walled court at immense speed (Helmets and goggles are standard uniform). Smacking the small ball with a relatively narrow paddle was not easy at first, but we knew we were

starting to get the hang of things when we hit the paddle’s sweet spot for the first time. After getting the hang of the wider, lighter paddle, we graduated to a smaller surfaced but heavier one which came with a slightly larger ball. “Pala Corta” takes quite a bit of skill and Sam and I had some pretty hilarious whiffs as we attempted to put together a rally. Regardless, the occasional solid shot we made with our glorified seal-clubbers brought a deafening crack and an awesome sense of satisfaction. Remember the good old days of elementary school handball, you know, with blue magic and the occasional ace? To describe Basque Pelota, you can reminisce to those glory days and then magnify your memory by about 50. Keep in mind that there are as many as 13 varieties to play. Essentially all that changes in each game is the ball and the means of throwing/hitting it against the wall, but the object is the same each time, to score

points by rallying with your opponent(s) until they cannot return your shot. From your bare hands to wooden paddles, caveman-style wooden clubs and long woven baskets, the Basque may have found every color of magic in the wall-ball world. We learned more from our trip than just balls and walls. Basque pelota provided us a window into a wholly CLUBBIN’ Clockwise from top left: Sam Maliska (‘11) follows through nicely after a shot; A table with the pelota essentials: shoes, paddles, balls, and helmets; I have apparently confused pelota with Zumba, our first venture.

unique culture of the world. The richness of the Basque culture reminded me that you don’t always need to leave the country to find interesting peoples from around the world. Heck, you don’t even need to leave the Bay Area. And in a place where such depth of culture abounds, to never experiment farther than Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala is truly a crime. An occasional taste of culture can do you a lot of good, just try to avoid indigestion...

Check out videos and post your own suggestions online at

January 2011



C A L I F O R N I A D I V I S I O N I S TA T E C H A M P I O N S 2 0 1 0

s Paly setter Kimmy Whitson’s serve sailed through the air, everyone held their breath. With the Lady Vikes down 14-13 in the fifth game of the California Interscholastic Federation title match on Dec. 4, one serve into the net would end the nearly perfect season in a second. Forty wins, one loss, one serve. The ball floated through the air, clipping the net as the crowd cringed. An inch lower, and the Lady Vikes would lose their chance at a CIF championship. Winning and losing can be decided by the smallest of details. A batter who unloads on a fastball just a split second too late in the bottom of the ninth can end the game. A missed free throw can lose a game - or a swish can win it. A safety in the first quarter can be the difference in a state championship football game. In important games, these seemingly insignificant details are magnified. A well-executed spike can turn into a story for the grandchildren, or a mental mistake can mean everlasting regret. Their mantra was written on the whiteboard for a week before the state title match. It was ingrained in the minds of every Paly volleyball player. Head coach Dave Winn made sure of that. “Winning and losing fade with time, but glory and regret last forever.” Game one. Under the metal halide lights at the San Jose State University Event Center, the Paly volleyball team began its quest for the title with Paly’s 2010 trademark: a strong, solid kill. This one came from middle blocker



LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL The Lady Vikes celebrate their victory in the CIF Division 1 state championship. The Lady Vikes fought off two consecutive match points and won on an ace by Maddie Kuppe (â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;12) which landed just inside the baseline, giving Paly the victory by a hair.

Photo by Matt Ersted


C A L I F O R N I A D I V I S I O N I S TA T E C H A M P I O N S 2 0 1 0

GOOD SPORT In addition to being a dynamic setter for the Lady Vikes, Kimmy Whitson (‘12) showed she knows how to win gracefully. She came away with the CIF Pursuing Victory with Honor sportsmanship award.

Melanie Wade (‘12), setting the stage for an easy win in game one - a win that seemed similar to many of the Lady Vikes’ 104 other set wins. The volleyball team, like Paly’s football team, made winning a habit in 2010. But one difference between the teams before the season started was senior leadership: The volleyball team had just two seniors. Despite a reliance on younger players, the Vikes played like a collection of varsity veterans. But what makes this team so strong? Is it the combination of great independent players? The team chemistry? The coach? Of the twelve players on the regular season team, nine went to Jordan Middle School, two went to JLS and one moved to Palo Alto freshman year. While the players all have strong personalities and different styles of play, they put it all together on the court with a common goal in mind. “The fact that we’ve grown up together with the sport is helpful,” Wade said. “We know each other really well. We know our strengths and how we react to certain situations.” For a team that plays together at least five days a week for over three months, unity on the court is essential. Some teams are tight-knit groups of people, while others are composed of players who come together to accomplish a common goal. “[The players] respect each other,” Winn said. “Is everyone best friends? No. But the team goals have to be greater than the individual goals. And if everyone abides by that, all of the issues work themselves out.” With the chance to make history, Winn called up six junior varsity players in November for the last several weeks of the haul. These are the players who will continue the legacy. “At first I was really nervous to be called up, but it means a lot to me,” setter Sophia Bono (‘13) said. “All of these girls are amazing and supportive. It’s really fun to be on the varsity team and I can’t wait for next year.” The valuable experience that underclassmen received by being on the team for the championship run will benefit the team in future years, according to middle blocker Charlotte Alipate (‘14). “It’s a great experience,” Alipate said. “Knowing what Paly volleyball is going to be like in the future and bringing up the intensity, bringing up my game over the [next few years] is just going to be amazing. I love it.” Thus, even without a team of “best friends,” the Lady Vikes managed to consistently get it done throughout the season. Game two. After the first game, Paly’s chances against the No. 1 team in the nation looked surprisingly good, but sure enough, Long Beach Poly came right back with a convinc-

Photo by Matt Ersted

VOLLEYBALL ing win. If you ask Paly’s players or coaches about their focus this season, they will all tell you the same thing: They chopped up the season into tiny fractions, focusing on each individual point every match, rather than the big picture. “Dave’s motif is to ‘climb the mountain,’ basically meaning to go for every point and just take it one step at a time,” outside hitter Maddie Kuppe (‘12) said. “We wouldn’t have such a good record if we were thinking about the end result.” And, though Paly found itself down by a score of 15-8 early in the second game, the Lady Vikes came back in an attempt to summit the mountain and take a commanding 2-0 lead. Long Beach Poly would have none of it. The Jackrabbits and their aggressive, powerful style adjusted to Paly’s unfamiliar NorCal play. “Paly’s hitting was a lot different,” Long Beach middle hitter Litara Keil (‘11) said. “There was a lot of tipping and a lot of roll shots. We were expecting them to play hard defense and to pound the ball, but it was a whole different game - a lot softer and a lot slower.” By overcoming powerful kills from Wade and outside hitter Trina Ohms (‘11), Long Beach Poly won the game, 25-20, tying up the match. Game three. The third set seemed to last an eternity. After the Jackrabbits led, Paly tied the game at 21 apiece. Then, Paly called a crucial timeout. With its combination of powerful offense and sturdy defense, the Lady Vikes rebounded, taking the next four points of the crucial third game, putting themselves in the driver’s seat with a 2-1 lead. Tight matches and losing were both uncommon instances for the Lady Vikes this year. Other than their lone loss to Los Gatos, the Lady Vikes were on top of the world. In contrast, the 2009 Paly volleyball team played in 14 match-deciding games. The Lady Vikes won 11 of them. “Our mantra last year [was that] we were the redeem team,” Winn said of his 2009 team. “If we lost one game, we’d come out and win the next game. This year, it’s more about establishing excellence, and continuing it.” All the way back in October, the Lady Vikes came out of their locker room at Paly and loosened up, getting ready for one of the toughest - and most anticipated - matches of the year. The two seniors knew it would be their last time facing Los Gatos, Paly’s relentless foe. But as the Vikes warmed up on Oct. 21, practicing their digs and spiking balls over the net before the game, someone was missing. Kuppe, the 6’1” outside hitter, sat by herself at the end of the bench. Sidelined for six weeks with a stress

VERSATILE Opposite hitter Caroline Martin (‘12) provided the team with versatility, switching positions from middle last year to opposite hitter this season. She was named to the CIF All Tournament Team at states as a utility player.

Photo by Matt Ersted

C A L I F O R N I A D I V I S I O N I S TA T E C H A M P I O N S 2 0 1 0 reaction in her left tibia, Kuppe could not do anything. She looked on as her teammates prepared for the huge game. The match was the only other five game contest of the season, and also the only loss for Paly. As Kuppe, who had 227 kills throughout the course of the season, sat in the corner, she knew that this game was different than the three others she had already missed. This one meant more. “I was close to tears before the game,” she said. “I really wanted to be playing.” So when the Lady Vikes could not come back in the fifth game on that rainy October night, no one could believe it. “There’s a little bit of bittersweetness - well, not even sweetness, bitterness,” Paly parent and teacher Debbie Whitson, who has been a parent on the volleyball team for the past six years, said. “But I think that losing made them better. The [attitude] was, ‘Ok, here’s what we have to work on. And if we don’t work on it, then this is what it’s going to look like.’” After that match, the Lady Vikes faced the facts: rebound, or be eliminated. Without regrets, Paly chose the former. Going undefeated for three months is not always going to be feasible, no matter how high expectations are. “It’s hard to have any regrets about anything this season,” Coach Winn said. “I’m not sure we [would have done] as well as we did had we not had that loss.”

Photos (clockwise from bottom) by Matt Ersted, Brandon Dukovic, Matt Ersted

Game four. Not so fast. Long Beach Poly came out of the gates at a sprint in the fourth game. Paly players and fans couldn’t believe it. A 25-11 loss? At the outset, people who knew Paly volleyball knew it would be a good season. They knew that the combination of a University of Pennsylvania-bound outside hitter, a 6’5” middle blocker and the returning dig leader would result in success. Paly’s jump to Division I


by Br a


Duko vic

force for the Lady Vikes all year long. She was awarded the SCVAL and CIF State tournament MVP awards.

didn’t hurt either; it meant that powerhouse teams such as Archbishop Mitty High School and St. Francis High School (Mountain View) would not stand in Paly’s way on the journey to the state championship. For the first time in recent history, a Paly t e a m had expectations for state. The 2010 volleyball team was supposed to be good. Paly’s championship season was analogous to the life of Pip in Great Expectations. As they continued along their journey, the Lady Vikes, like Pip, had one thing on their minds: the expectations. “It’s not like the De La Salle [football team] woke up one morning and said, ‘Hey, we’re gonna win 151 football games in a row,’” Winn said. “They got better to the point that, at the beginning of every year, it was expected that they were going to go undefeated.” And this year, after several improving seasons, that type of high expectation came Paly’s way. Kuppe’s front row partner, Wade, stated this loud and clear. “The Paly volleyball program is a lot more intense and hard core [this year]. The expectations are a lot higher.” Unlike the football team this year, the volleyball team believed that it would experience something amazing and real - before it actually happened. “The girls have the expectation this year that we should go to state,” Winn said. “So it’s not this sort of reaching ‘if we could do it.’ No Disney-like story, it actually happened.” But with Long Beach in control, the big game four loss set up a final sprint.


SLAM HEARD ‘ROUND THE WORLD Melanie Wade (‘12) wwas a

by M att Er sted


Game five. The game for it all. Upset of the year, or surviving a scare? “At the beginning of game five, knowing that they had gone five games, I was very satisfied,” Debbie Whitson said. “It was one of those things like, ‘Ok, they made it five games, this is what they wanted.’”

C A L I F O R N I A D I V I S I O N I S TA T E C H A M P I O N S 2 0 1 0 .0012% of that. But in this case, these six points meant everything. So, after the long battle, it seemed like Paly was ready to accept defeat. And, with the score at 14-13, it looked like the net would bring it. As the ball lingered on the net, gravity decided whether Paly would earn a gold or silver season. Everyone in the

Photos (from left to right) by Matt Ersted, Brandon Dukovic, Brandon Dukovic, Brandon Dukovic

With any extremely close play, a season built upon expectations could have been thrown out the window. And that’s why Winn emphasized every single point for the entire season. But even with this intense focus, no one knew if it would really be possible to beat the No. 1 team in the country. With the score at 12-9 in Long Beach’s favor, almost all hope was lost. Maybe next year. Coach Winn called a timeout. “Let’s win it.” But it’s not that easy. The Lady Vikes came out and fought, but they lost two of the next five

BANNER YEAR The Lady Vikes celebrate accomplishing their goal of “four banners.” Paly came away with a

“My favorite memory was looking down at my this determination to win. I was so pumped points. The score stood at 14-12. All Long Beach Poly had to do was win one of the next two points. A NorCal title is nice. That’s three banners in one season. As long as Paly had no regrets, a loss was acceptable. Everyone on the 2010 Paly volleyball team has more volleyball ahead of them. No one knew that the team’s final opportunity would depend on the last six points of the season. Over the course of the season, Paly played 4,807 points. Six points is about

Event Center let out a collective gasp at the same instant. In a fairytale-esque play, Kimmy Whitson’s serve willed itself over the net. Poly returned it, but the Lady Vikes won the rally to stay alive. With the score tied at 14-14, Paly could not be stopped. After each team scored another point, Kuppe ended it with her two most important aces of the season. “It’s indescribable,” Kuppe said. Paly players, coaches, parents, trainers and fans went crazy.

VOLLEYBALL “I just thought, ‘Oh my God, they won,’” Debbie Whitson said. “And then I don’t know what happened to me. You were kind of just lost in that moment. Totally unbelievable. It was spectacular, if I had one word to describe it. It was definitely the cherry on top of the ice cream.” In the minutes and days following the match, a flurry of positive emotions swept the Paly community: First it was

of an underdog Northern California team to a close. In a matter of seconds, the volleyball team was launched to a seemingly unreachable rank of No. 10 in the nation (, earning the fourth banner of the season and leaving 18 girls with an unforgettable journey that theoretically can only be outdone by an undefeated season. But in reality, it was perfect. Kimmy Whitson, Paly’s workhorse who finished with 1,148 assists (over 1,000 more than any other Lady Vike), could not instantly realize the magnitude of what the 2010 Paly volleyball team accomplished. “I was just in shock after we won. Now, we want to prove that it wasn’t a

SCVAL league championship, CCS Championship, CIF NorCal championship and CIF state championship.

team right before the game and seeing all to show the world what we could do.” -Outside Hitter Trina Ohms (‘11) disbelief. Then vivacity. And finally, relaxation. “The rush you get from winning, and the pain you get from losing, they really only last a short amount of time,” Winn said. “Compared to either glory - doing something heroic - or the pain of regret, meaning you could have done something better. That will live with you much longer than losing a match.” Though the Lady Vikes had been expected to do well in Central Coast Section play and the NorCal tournament, the state championship win brought the Cinderella story

fluke and that we’re good enough to do it again.” When the Paly players rushed the floor of the Event Center that night, all expectations, all pressure, all doubts, were vanquished. A ball that clipped the net may have made all the difference. One season full of triumph hung in the air with that ball. The collective gasp from the crowd could have been Paly’s very last. Instead, the fans, coaches and players exhaled, wiped their foreheads and four serves later the Vikes were state champions. And nothing can ever take that away. <<<

Photo by Brandon Dukovic

Photo by Brandon Dukovic

Photo by Brandon Dukovic

Photo by Brandon Dukovic

Photo by Brandon Dukovic


The Parade of Champions made its way through the streets of downtown Palo Alto on Saturday Jan. 9, 2011 to celebrate the two state championship teams. Thousands of citizens, fans, parents and friends crowded around City Hall in a culmination of community spirit and Palo Alto pride.


Photo by Brandon Dukovic

Photo by Paige Borsos


Photo by Brandon Dukovic

Photo by Brandon Dukoivc

Photo by Brandon Dukovic

January 2010 Photo by Brandon Dukovic


Photo by Paige Borsos

Palo Alto High School Varsity Footbal 2010 California Interscholastic Federation Champs


Palo Alto High School


Palo Alto High School Varsity Football 2010 California Interscholastic Federation Champions

Varsity Football 2010 California Interscholastic Federation Champions Palo Alto High School Va

Federation Champio

12/17 Centennial 15-13

12/03 Valley Christian 21-14

11/26 Bellarmine 35-0

11/19 Mitty 13-10

11/12 Saratoga 28-14

11/05 Mtn. View 42-20

10/29 Homestead 35-13

10/22 Milpitas 35-0

10/15 Los Gatos 42-0

10/08 Gunn 49-14

10/01 Wilcox 28-15

9/24 San Benito 23-6

9/17 Mitty 20-7

9/10 Burlingame 21-9

#40-Brennan Miller #43-Michael Cullen #2-Ben Macias #44-Nathan Hubbard #3-Maurice Williams #47-Kenny Jones #4-Alistair Thompson #50-Chris Martinez #5-Miles Anderson #51-Tom Ames #6-David Williams #52-Dustin Nizamian #7-Gabe Landa #54-Jackson Moses #8-Bill Gray #58-Kevin Anderson #9-B.J. Boyd #60-Rowan Thompson #10-Davante Adams #61-Drew Rider #12-John Dickerson #63-Alec Furrier #13-Christoph Bono #64-Azud Balabanian #16-Justin Grey #66-Sam Moses #17-T.J. Braff #68-Cody Laurence #19-Andre Guzman #72-Justin Rittman #21-Will Glazier #74-Jose Tochez #22- Colin Palmquist #75-Tory Prati #25-Manny Cervantes #76-Jesus Barron #29-Josh Chin #31-Morris Gates-Mouton #77-Nate Velasquez #78-Spencer Drazovich #32-Dre Hill #79-Michael Lyzwa #36-Kash Flaherty #85-Kevin Kannappan #37-Erik Anderson


Palo Alto High School Varsity Football 2010 California Interscholastic


Photo by Brandon Dukovic

California Interscholastic Federation Champions

ol Varsity Football

10 California Interscholastic Federation Champions

Palo Alto High School Varsity Volleyball

Palo Alto High School


Palo Alto High School Varsity Volleyball 2010 California Interscholastic Federation Champions

2010 California Interscholastic Federation Champions Palo Alto High School Varsity Volleyball 2

#1-Nira Krasnow #2-Tiffany Tsung #3-Megan Coleman #4-Shelby Knowles #5-Keri Gee #6-Savannah Owens #7-Ally Kron #8-Caroline Martin #9-Kimberly Whitson #10-Haley Owens #11-Kuu Sanford (not pictured) #12-Jackie Koenig #13-Sophia Bono (not pictured) #14-Becca Raffel #15-Maddie Kuppe #16-Charlotte Alipate #18-Trina Ohms #19-Melanie Wade


Palo Alto High School Varsity Volleyball 2010 California Interscholastic Champs 9/3 Sierra Tourney 18-1 9/09 Westmont 3-0 9/14 Gunn 3-0 9/16 San Benito 3-0 9/18 Harbor Tourney 12-0 9/21 Los Altos 3-0 9/23 Monta Vista 3-0 9/28 Mtn. View 3-1 9/30 Homestead 3-0 10/05 Los Gatos 3-1 10/12 Saratoga 3-0 10/14 Monta Vista 3-0 10/19 Mtn. View 3-0 10/21 Los Gatos 2-3 10/28 Saratoga3-0 10/30 Spikefest Tourney 10-1 11/02 Homestead 3-0 11/04 Los Altos 3-0 11/13 Monta Vista 3-0 11/18 Carlmont 3-1 11/20 Menlo-Atherton 3-0 11/23 Lincoln SF 3-0 11/27 St. Francis (Sac.) 3-1 11/30 St. Maryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Stock. 3-0 12/04 Long Beach Poly 3-2

scholastic Federation Champions

Photo by Brandon Dukovic


all 2010 California Inter-

Varsity Volleyball 201

C A L I F O R N I A D I V I S I O N I S TA T E C H A M P I O N S 2 0 1 0

Photo by (left to right clockwise): Matt Ersted, Matt Ersted, Alex Kershner




MVP Christoph Bono (‘11) quarterbacked the Vikings to an unprecedented 14-0 season. For his efforts he was named SJ Mercury News Player of the Year, SF Chronicle 2nd Team All-Metro, and SCVAL MVP. Bono credits his teammates for helping him achieve such great heights. “Everyone believed in each other and had confidence that each person would be able to execute their job.” Bono said.


n front of thousands of cheering fans and popping flashbulbs, the Palo Alto High School football team rallied together with the Palo Alto community in raucous celebration three weeks and a day after winning the California Interscholastic Federation state championship. Coach Earl Hansen rolled through downtown in a green vintage car followed by the title-winning football and volleyball teams. Players sat perched in the windows of cable cars adorned in green and white streamers and balloons, waving to cheering supporters. With city and state leaders in attendance, the unbelievable championships were set in stone forever. The Parade of Champions would not have become reality if the Vikings had just won league, just won the Central Coast Section, just gone 13-0: it was the result of one game. The Palo Alto High School Vikings’ thirteen games before the CIF Division I championship were exactly that, in the past. Everything depended on that one game. It was the end. The end of football for many seniors. The end of the season for all. The end of all predictions, leaving history to be decided by the two teams on the field. Fans remember the 2007 New England Patriots as the team that lost Super Bowl XLI to the New York Giants in a monumental upset. They do not think of the Patriots’ record-setting regular season and dominating playoff performance leading up to the Super Bowl. Winning all season is ultimately forgettable if accompanied by one loss, the championship. If, however, a team manages to take the championship crown, it and all of its players will forever be remembered for the

C A L I F O R N I A D I V I S I O N I S TA T E C H A M P I O N S 2 0 1 0 legacy left behind. For the Vikings, falling to the Centennial Huskies in the CIF Division I championship was expected. “From what you’ve read in the newspapers, we shouldn’t even bother to show up,” Viking offensive line coach Steve Foug said prior to his team’s

four days before the showdown that “[Open Division competitors] Servite and De La Salle should be grateful they don’t have to play the best team in the state, which I believe is Centennial. The Huskies are going to put on a show and expose what everyone knows is a flaw in the CIF state championship bowl system - it doesn’t produce a true state champion.” Three hundred seventy four miles away from the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., Paly supporters packed The Old Pro to show support for Palo Alto football. At halftime, they watched as Comcast SportsNet aired a segment showing Centennial players, frustrated that they did not reach the Open Division game. They felt that they were settling for a Division I championship over lowly Palo Alto. Few, if any, expected the Vikings to be up 15-0 on a team with the most prolific offense in state history. While Centennial brooded in thoughts of missing out on the big show, Paly saw an opportunity and came out firing.

“You can’t gauge the heart [my] kids have. I mean these kids are state champs. Can you believe that?” - Defensive Coordinator Jake Halas

Photos (top and bottom) by Alex Kershner

trip to Southern California. Eric Sondheimer, a Los Angeles Times reporter, wrote

But there is an upside that comes with being an underdog: you get overlooked and underestimated. There was nothing to lose; either the Vikings would lose as anticipated to the No. 5 team in the nation (MaxPreps), or they would win and upset the highly-acclaimed Huskies, shocking the high school football world. With everything to gain, they did it, holding off a furious Centennial comeback effort. “I wasn’t scared or nervous at the end of the game because I didn’t have time,” Paly defensive coordinator Jake Halas said. “My body and mind at times were in slow motion. I did, however, keep looking at the clock and that thing was not moving as fast as I would like.” The game came down to the small things: the mistakes, the penalties, the injuries, the safety. The Vikings held a team that had averaged 54.1 points a game (and never scored fewer than 42) to just 13 and blocked a potential game-winning kick with 35 seconds left to secure the state crown. “When you’re in a game like that you don’t realize that if this [kick] goes in, we lose, if he doesn’t make it, we win,” Stanford University-bound lineman Kevin Anderson (‘11) said. “You’re not really thinking like that, it’s just too fast.” The Vikings won, to Centennial’s surprise, against

FOOTBALL TEENAGE DREAM Stanfordbound defensive end Kevin Anderson (‘11) starred in the team’s first music video. Anderson displayed his acting talents during a unique rendition of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream.

Photos (top to bottom) by Matt Ersted and Alex Kershner

experts’ predictions and despite rankings - all because of the team’s skill and heart. “If it’s Palo Alto vs. Centennial on paper, it’s a no brainer [that] Centennial is going to blow them out. That’s what everybody figured,” Halas said. “They have bigger, stronger, faster players, supposedly. They have all these numbers, but you can’t gauge the heart [my] kids have. You can’t gauge what our [78] practices were and the work we put in.” When they needed the big hit, Anderson gave the crowd plenty of “did you see that” moments. Just ask Barrinton Collins (‘11). The Husky star running back took a handoff inside the five-yard line in the second quarter, only to take the full brunt of an Anderson tackle and be sidelined for the rest of the game. The Viking defense, which earned the moniker “the swarm” eight games into the season, relied on speed and gang-tackling to overwhelm ball carriers and pressure quarterbacks. Never was the bend-but-don’t-break attitude more evident than in that final game, when Paly stuffed Centennial on fourth-and-goal. Twice. The dominating Paly unit held opposing offenses to a stingy 9.6 points per game, allowing no more than 20 in any single contest. The man behind the proverbial curtain was Halas, who joined the Paly football and teaching community with the seniors, just four years ago. “He is the genius behind the defense,” Anderson said. “To come in and stop the best offense in the history of California, is all on him. He gave us a game plan and we were able to go out there and execute it. Without him, I guarantee they would have been able to score more points.” Not even Halas believed his defense would accomplish what it did. “Did I think we would hold them to 13 points? No way,” he said. “But I knew we were going to hold them down, we were going to disrupt them, slow their tempo, and for

that it’s that group of kids. I mean these kids are state champs. Can you believe that?” The state championship game wasn’t the first time Paly won against the odds. In fact, the team did just that all

C A L I F O R N I A D I V I S I O N I S TA T E C H A M P I O N S 2 0 1 0


BULLDOZER In B.J. Boyd’s first year on the Paly football team, he took the league by storm and provided the Vikings with a homerun threat every time he touched the football. Boyd finished with an average of 8.04 yards per carry and seven rushing touchdowns. Photos (left to right) by Alex Kershner and Matt Ersted

postseason long. Throughout the 2010 Central Coast Section playoffs, sentiment always seemed to be “Paly had a nice season, but it has no chance in this one.” Week after week, so-called experts overlooked Paly, while favoring its West Catholic Athletic League opponents. “It fires everyone up when people think that we’re going to get killed,” quarterback Christoph Bono (‘11) said. “It helped us prepare and work harder. If everyone expects you to lose, then you have nothing to lose.” The games weren’t always easy, but what mattered was the final score, the final tackle, the final catch, the final team standing. In its second match-up of the season against WCAL powerhouse Archbishop Mitty, Paly struggled, something that it wasn’t too familiar with this season. Trailing 10-6 late in the fourth quarter, Bono took a sack on third and goal. Fourth-and-goal from the 24-yard line loomed. The clock showed 35 seconds left. Surely they were finished and the glory of their 10-0 record in regular season play would fade away fast. “I believed we had a chance [to win], I was just freaking out a little bit that it could’ve been my last play and I didn’t

want it to end,” outside linebacker Michael Cullen (‘11) said. With the season hanging in the balance, Bono took a three-step drop and looked left. Six-foot two wideout Davante Adams (‘11) had one-on-one coverage on the outside. Bono tossed a prayer to Adams, who appeared to haul it in before being knocked to the turf by the Mitty defender. Seconds ticked by. No signal from the ref. Four seconds later, touchdown. Victory. Upset. “It was like a near-death experience,” linebacker Will Glazier (‘11) said. “It felt like we were living on borrowed time.” Pandemonium ensued, as the depleted and soggy student section rushed from the bleachers ecstatically and the Vikings lived to fight another day. Bono proved that there is more to a football player than physical attributes. “I’m not the biggest, I’m not the fastest, but I’m a winner,” Bono said. From that point on, it seemed meant to happen. Paly carried all the momentum into a 35-0 romp over Bellarmine College Preparatory, turning the tables on last year’s match-up. Finally, the Vikings defeated WCAL powerhouse Valley Christian 21-14 to bring home the CCS Open Division crown for the first time since 2006. A perfect 13-0 season, that was not yet perfect. Rewind. Before the success, before the glory, players sacrificed. They skipped summer vacations to work out in 100-degree weather, suffered cuts and bruises, sore shoulders. Players were forced to adjust, especially after the Homecoming game against Homestead High School. Five players were sidelined, handicapped by the Mustangs. Three torn MCLs, one sprained ankle, one broken hand and one turning point of the season. “Immediately after watching the [Homestead game]


by M att Er sted

Photos (clockwise from bottom) by Matt Ersted, Alex Kershner, Alex Kershner

C A L I F O R N I A D I V I S I O N I S TA T E C H A M P I O N S 2 0 1 0


it was really depressing,” center Jackson Moses (‘11), who broke his hand in the battle against the Mustangs, said. “But after that happened I think our team became closer because everybody stepped up to fill in the spots until those guys who were hurt recovered and came back.” Two weeks later, the regular season culminated in a 14-point comeback victory over Saratoga High School, completing the perfect league season. While it was the players who executed on the gridiron to win league, head coach Earl Hansen’s efforts did not go unnoticed. In his 23rd year as the Paly football coach, he won the ESPN RISE Cal-Hi Sports State Football Coach of the Year for the first time in Paly’s history. And in the end it came down to the two groups, players and coaches, working seamlessly in unison. On an undersized, unrecognized, underrated team, brains proved greater than brawn. The Vikings practiced as one, played as one, won as one and celebrated as one. Fourteen times, Paly put its undefeated season on the line, and fourteen times it remained unscathed. For 14 weeks, Moses had an excuse to let his beard grow bushier. Back at the Parade of Champions in downtown Palo Alto, players basked in the public spotlight one last time together. At one point in a joint speech by Bono and Glazier, the quarterback thanked backup center Jose Tochez (‘11) for “living the dream.” As the images on the screen started to fade, the festivities ended with a clip from the team’s rendition of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” The CIF state champions went out in style, rolling down the THE SWARM The Vikings’ defense proved itself all seaheart of downtown, reveling in their record-shattering season long, culminating with a stunning performance in son while uniting the Palo Alto community. the state championship holding Centennial to 13 points. “It’s a history-making record for Paly and it will always The Huskies had averaged 54.1 points per game and had be there,” Hansen said. “That’s as many games as [a Paly not been held below 42 all season until they met the football team will] probably ever play. People can only tie Viking swarm it.” <<<

by Ale x Ker shne r



Pushing Up Morale



uring the time of the year when our minds are focused on the merry spirit of the holidays, we can appreciate the amount of joy the simple things in life bring to us. Sometimes, even the smallest actions can make a huge impact. Some fans truly are fanatics, decorating their faces with war paint and memorizing stats down to the most minute detail. Palo Alto High School has something different. Paly fans have a way of spreading energy and inspiring fans that is simply unequaled. At other schools mascots jump around and fans sing fight songs. At Palo Alto High School, Harry Nizamian does push ups. All fans have means of celebration. Emotions translate into fist pumping, hoarse voices, and chest bumps. The energy is almost infectious. Occasionally, the sound of confidence and aggression puts a little fear into the opponent and silences their fans. But among all the regular fans is a special fan: the team’s mascot. He does more than just dress up for the team, he acts as an emotional representative for the crowd. Harry Nizamian represents Paly’s fighting spirit at all times, whether the team is up or down. Palo Alto High School’s mascot is the Viking. Vikings, of course, were medieval warriors, and are a perfect symbol for all-out competition. Vikings were known for their willing-

ness to attack with much less armor than their foes. They were aggressive and brought mayhem upon the civilized world. Paly is a public school that competes against the elite West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL) schools. Paly’s competitiveness shows that it is true to the Viking visage. Yet, Paly has no formal mascot jumping around in a Styrofoam suit; instead, it has Harry Nizamian. During Palo Alto’s version of Friday Night Lights, Paly students and spectators cram into Hod Ray Field, eager to see the Vikings complete another slaughtering. Sometimes there is a frigid bite to the air and freezing rain that drives off some fans, leaving only those who are willing to weather the elements in support of their team. Still, every game, home or away, hot or cold, rain or shine, no matter the odds, Harry Nizamian is always fighting for the Viking win. Most football fans have seen the Oregon Duck rejuvenate the fans of Eugene with his display of push ups. Nizamian does push ups, but they are a little different: more exhilarating, more tough, more proud. Every time the Vikings score, Nizamian does the amount of points the Vikings have in push ups. For a man eligible for social security, he certainly has whipped the Duck’s tail feathers with his efforts. When Paly Viking teams work harder, so January 2011


Pushing Up Morale

Photos used by permission of Harry Nizamian


LEADERSHIP Harry Nizamian as CEO of Dakin Inc. and in uniform during the Korean War. does Nizamian as our fan and mascot. Spurring the crowd with fighting spirit, Nizamian helps Paly students show their school pride. Graham Marchant (‘11) attends every football game and is able to build off of Nizamian. “I think that the push ups are funny as well as inspirational,” Marchant

support since Nizamian started his tradition. “The push ups really pump up the crowd and as a cheerleader it’s really nice to see everyone getting so into the game so we all love it,” Jorasch said. “He makes the games more fun to watch and be a part of too.” Harold A. Nizamian’s path to becom-

the good things in life and I learned a set of values and work ethic that was embedded in me forever.” After his childhood, Nizamian finished high school in Long Island and developed a passion for sports that carried into his adult life as he began to support sports teams rather than play them. “I was always very passionate about sports,” Nizamian said. “I played soccer in high school and got my varsity letter. I also did a lot of running and ran the marathon in San Francisco.” After graduating from high school Nizamian was drafted into the army. The military taught him dedication, leadership and further strengthened his ability to work hard. These qualities would prove to be the essence of his life as Paly’s mascot. “I was drafted into the Korean War in 1952 and spent two years in the army,” Nizamian said. “[The experience] was incredible and I began to realize the importance of hard work. I became the best soldier of my class and was sent to leadership school.” After spending two years in the military, Nizamian attended graduate school at University of California Berkeley and was launched into the working world becoming vice president of Da-

“You sit there as a Paly student and think, if a parent is willing to do push ups for every time we score, we need to be louder and back up our team.” said. “Because you sit there as a Paly student and think, if a parent is willing to do push ups for every time we score, we need to be louder and back up our team.” Nizamian’s influence is not limited to fans alone. Paly cheerleaders appreciate the contributions of Nizamian because they are able to increase the crowd’s intensity. Sophie Jorasch (‘12) has been on the cheer team since she was a freshman and has noticed livelier


-Graham Marchant (‘11)

ing Paly mascot was far from ordinary. He did not grow up in Palo Alto and his family was never sports-oriented. Raised on a farm, he immediately learned how to work hard and he developed a strong perspective on what is important in life. “I was born in Philadelphia, and I moved at an early age and lived in upstate New York,” Nizamian said. “I was brought up in a foster home and in a chicken farm. I learned to appreciate

kin Incorporated in the early 60’s. Dakin was originally a company that sold firearms taking in $30,000, but its toy section was booming and selling over $250,000. The company immediately shifted its focus to the production of toys. In 1967, after an unfortunate accident resulting in the loss of the head of the company, Dakin turned to Nizamian to lead the charge. “I was promoted from vice president to chairman, CEO and president

in 1967, and held that position until I resigned in 1990,” Nizamian said. “I took the company from three million in profits to over 240 million.” Nizamian loved working for Dakin and especially wanted to be involved in the production of its toys in hopes that he would be able to spread happiness. Happiness was the foundation of Nizamian’s passion, and he radiated his happiness to the world with each stuffed toy he made. “I was heading the development of the company and I liked to be involved in getting creative with our products and spreading the joy from our toys,” Nizamian said. The qualities Nizamian learned from his life, a strong work ethic from his childhood, a passion for sports from his high school sports career, dedication and leadership from the military, and joy and happiness from running a toy company form a unique combination that made Nizamian the ideal mascot. Dustin, Harry’s son, plays on Paly’s varsity lacrosse and football teams, and it was at a lacrosse game that the push ups made their debut. “The push-ups came from lacrosse and transitioned to football,” Harry said. “We were playing Menlo [High School] and we were behind four goals, and Virginia Proceviat told me to do some push ups in hopes that it would bring good luck. So I did them, and all of a sudden, we scored a goal. So she told me to keep doing them, so I did and we ended up tying the game and going into an overtime victory and the crowd went crazy over my push ups.” Nizamian loves to help the Vikings win, and feels closer to the team and his son as a result of his efforts. No longer a participant in sports, Nizamian’s passion has transformed into his role in supporting his son. “The push ups carried over to football because I wanted to help in [their] win too. I felt very close to the team and very close to Dustin,” Nizamian said. “I have jumbled my schedule so that I can attend every game. It’s amazing how the fans build off my passion; they all get going after I give them a little push

MOTIVATION Harry Nizamian fires up the crowd with his push ups in the Central Coast Section Open division finals against Valley Christian. The Vikings won 21-14. with my push ups.” Dustin, however, is cautious of his Dad doing all these push ups, but loves that his Dad is so involved in his sports. “I am worried he is going to hurt himself,” Dustin said. “I am glad he is having a lot of fun and getting the crowd all riled up. I think since we don’t have a mascot that he is good to have to help cheer on the team. My dad has been awesome in helping me in my sports and supporting me and his support helps me have a good time.”

As a good father, fan and mascot, Nizamian takes pride in kindling Paly sports’ spirit. He has developed his passion through his high school sport team experience, his military service and his leading role in a toy company. This passion has led him to pure happiness and joy. This passion has made him become Paly’s mascot and motivational leader. Now, he has the opportunity to share that passion with fellow fans to inspire them to do some push ups of their own. <<< January 2011



What defines a good coach?


hat defines a good coach? Personality? Record? Legacy? All coaches, no matter which sport, their own unique characteristics and qualities that differentiate them from the rest. However, some coaches shine brighter than the rest. Coaches are prominent role models in a teenager’s life. Unlike parents and teachers, sports coaches offer a different adult perspective and teach kids lessons they cannot learn at home or in a classroom. However, in order to achieve such a high standard, coaches must possess certain qualities that define their character. And, while many agree on specific characteristics that make a good coach, such opinions are subjective.


“Someone who is able to see other perspectives besides [their] own. Someone who commands respect from [their] athletes and is easy to follow. Someone who is easy to take direction from because you have that respect for them. Also just putting the players before the game.” -Katerina Peterson (‘11) Basketball and Track


“I think the most important quality a coach needs to have is the ability to inspire his players and do their best.”

-Nikolai Solgaard (‘12) Cross-country and Track

“I think a good coach should most importantly be really supportive towards all players at all times, no matter what. A good coach should be able to teach the players all the physical aspects of the sport. But teaching players to have the right mentality during a game is just as important.” -Karine Hsu (‘12) Badminton

a good coach? Nikolai Solgaard (‘12) Cross Country and Track

“A good coach knows how to be intense while also having fun, and cares about the well-being of his players more than anything else.” -Jacob Lauing (‘12) Baseball

“[A coach should dispaly qualities such as] patience, perseverance, and love for the game.” -Tom Ames (‘12) Football

“Someone who really takes the time to understand a player and uses their experience outside of the sport. Someone who helps make that person a better player and is there for them and supports them 100 percent all the time.” -Charlotte Allipate (‘14) Volleyball and Basketball

January 2011


Sports Boosters would like to congratulate our two state champions! You made us proud, Volleyball and Football!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! May 27th is our annual Golf Tournament!

Photos from bottom to top by Alex Kershner and Brandon Dukovic, Photo illustration by Talia Moyal

Football coach and Paly Athletic Director Earl Hansen enjoys the Parade of Champions from the back of a convertible in the parade. Hansen led the team to its first CIF Division I State Championship in school history. He was also awarded ESPN Rise High School Football Coach of the Year. Photo by Alana Schwartz



January 2010

The Wildcats Band Raising money for Palo Alto Schools

“the most popular Palo Alto dad band” -- NY Times, June 17, 2007 Book the Band:

Palo Alto Bicycles 650.328.7411 171 University Ave Palo Alto, CA 94301

Photos from left to right by Brandon Dukovic, Talia Moyal, Brandon Dukovic


Joey Christopherson (‘12)


Gary Hobach (‘13)

Emy Kelty (‘12)

Coach: David Duran

Despite a strong junior class the team will be missing a key contributor from last season, Ryan Oshima (’12) due to injury. The team’s toughest competition will be Los Gatos, Cupertino and Fremont. The biggest tournament of the season will be the Sierra Nevada Classic taking place on December 29th and 30th. After sending Jack Sakai to states last year, the teams thinks that Gans may have a similar opportunity.

Joey Christopherson (‘12)

Photos from left to right by Brandon Dukovic

The Palo Alto High School wrestling team has big shoes to fill this season. With loss of senior leaders AJ Castillo (’10) and Jack Sakai (’10) the team will look to a combination of juniors and seniors to fill their roles. Kalen Gans (’12), Joey Christopherson (’12), Nicholas Ortiz (’12), and Jose Tochez (’11) are all returning varsity players who will be looked to for leadership.

Alec Wong (‘12)

Jared Swezey-Gleason (‘12)

January 2011



Winter Sports

Photo by Alana Schwartz

Boys’ Basketball

Mathias Schmutz (‘13)

The Vikings (5-5,3-0) opened up the league season with a decisive win over Lynbrook on Jan. 4, 70-44. Coming off of an (18-7,11-1) record last year, highlighted by a Santa Clara Valley Athletic League—De Anza Division title, the Vikings look to continue their success in this year’s campaign. “We won league last year, so hopefully we can do it again this year,” forward Charlie Jones (‘11) said. “We’re balanced, and well rounded, so it should be a good year. The Vikings graduated four starters from last year – guards Joseph Lin and Brendan Rider, forward Steven Kerr and center Kevin Brown–but bring back big-time scoring threat Max Schmarzo (‘11). The Vikings will look to the senior leadership of Schmarzo, along with Jones and an electric guard in Davante Adams (‘11).

Photo by Brandon Dukovic

Girls’ Basketball

Sydney Davis (‘11)


Coach: Adam Sax Record: 8-5 In preseason play, the Vikings beat Milpitas on Dec. 11, 73-55, and Aragon twice on Dec. 9 and Dec. 29, 55-29 and 67-46, respectively. The team battled against highly ranked Monta Vista and Bellarmine, losing to Bellarmine by only 3 points Dec. 23, 42-45. Young talent has been pivotal for the team’s success this season, with Alec Wong (‘12) at the top of the key, while E.J. Floreal (‘13) returns, joined by newcomer Aldis Petriceks (‘13). New coach Adam Sax will look to pick up where Bob Roehl left off last season, and lead the Vikings deep into the CCS playoffs. Last year, their season was cut short by the Archbishop Mitty Monarchs in the second round of CCS, yet this year the Vikings will look to use a strong preseason schedule to prepare them for future games with the West Catholic Athletic League.

Coach: Scott Peters Record: 10-3

The Palo Alto High School girls’ basketball team (10-3, 3-0) defeated the Woodside Wildcats 60-17 in a decisive first game on Dec. 3rd. The Lady Vikes went undefeated in the Saratoga Shootout on Dec.18th through the 21st, defeating Los Gatos 45-38 in their final game. Emilee Osagiede (‘12) was named tournament MVP while Sydney Davis (‘11) and Lindsay Black (’12) won all-tournament. The team also won the consolation championship game against Natomas High School, 4938 in the West Coast Jam on Dec. 27th to the 29th. Shamelia Clay (’12) and Katerina Peterson (’11) were named All-Tournament The Lady Vikes won their first home league game against Lynbrook, in an intense 40-31 victory. The team will play its next home game against the Monta Vista Matadors on Jan. 12.

This year Paly has a strong team with four seniors, five juniors, two sophomores and one freshman. “We’re going to win CCS [Central Coast Sectionals], [then] go to states”, shooting guard Shamelia Clay said. “We’re a really good, well-rounded team.” The Lady Vikes are focusing on defense this year to improve from last year. Emilee Osagiede, Davis and Josie Butler (‘13) are expected to be standout players this year.

Shamelia Clay (‘12)

Photo used with permission from Jim Shorin

Boys’ Soccer

Federico Clerici (‘12)

Photo by Brandon Dukovic

Girls’ Soccer

Coach: Donald Briggs Record: 6-2-1 Starting off the season, the Palo Alto High School boys’ varsity soccer team is quickly proving itself as a force to be reckoned within the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL). With seven seniors returning from last year’s squad, the Vikings are confident they will control the midfield and work as a unit. At center midfield, Occidentalbound John Richardson (’11) holds a commanding position on the field and works to develop the play offensively while securing the front line of the Vikings’ defense. After temporarily losing starting defenders Ricky Minno (’11), Austin Smith (’11) and Colgate boundTony Panayides (’11) to injuries earlier in the season, the team began to feel the weight of its oppositions’ attack. The team is working

to fix disconnects and close gaps while looking forward to the return of its injured players. The team has also converted forward Kris Hoglund (‘12) into a part time goalkeeper after losing Scott Alexander (‘10) to graduation. The Vikings defeated Saratoga High School 4-1 at Saratoga in their first league match. Skyler Felt (’13), Panayides, Richardson, and Mark Raftrey (’11) all scored goals for the Vikings. “We played well in the second half [of the game], but the first half was unorganized. In the second half we came out and we did the job,” Richardson said. The Vikings’ next match is scheduled to be against Santa Clara High School on January 12, at Santa Clara.

The Palo Alto High School girls’ soccer team is coming off a shaky 3-4 preseason record with a positive attitude. With a strong 2-0 victory over Homestead High School (4-2-2) in their first league game, the Lady Vikes feel confident that they have conquered their preseason woes and will make an impressive showing in league play. After losing six starters from last year’s squad, the Lady Vikes look to replace last year’s seniors with junior talent as well as with newcomers Helen Butler (‘11) and early graduate Melissa Johns (‘11). The team prides itself on its fluidity, the ability to connect passes and maintain ball possession. The Lady Vikes also have a sturdy defense; centered around Virginia Tech-bound centerback Butler and Duke-bound

goalkeeper Alex Kershner (‘11). Senior co-captain Gracie Cain (‘11) leads the team in goals (4) and assists. The team hopes that its strong team chemistry will prove a useful tool late in the Central Coast Section playoffs and that it will get the opportunity to avenge its loss in the CCS championship game two seasons prior. The Lady Vikes face a big week ahead of them, with a game against Monta Vista High School (2-4-3) on Jan. 12, the same school that beat Paly in the 2009 CCS championship. Paly faces cross-town rival Gunn High School (5-2-2) on Friday Jan.14 under the lights, hoping to defeat the Lady Titans again after a late goal lifted the Lady Vikes in their win last year.

Coach: Ernesto Cruz Record: 4-5

Gracie Cain (‘11)

January 2011


Is hosting a photo exhibition fundrasier at the Oshman Family JCC in the Gym Lobby on March 3, at 7:00 p.m. Please contact the Viking Business Managers at: with any questions.

Sharon Witte Coldwell Banker International Presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Circle Cell: (650)269-6700 Voice Mail: (650) 752-0775 http://www.sharonwitte. com

Photo used with permission from Linda Cullen

The Last Game I

f you take a close look at the helmet of a member of the 2010 Palo Alto Vikings football team, you will get a glimpse into the life of a warrior who by day hammers out essays and math worksheets, and by night hammers opposing players to the turf. A helmet that started off in August as a smooth, spotless, gleaming white headpiece has progressed into manA VIKING FROM THE START Michael gled and chipped Cullen first buckled his chin-strap in 4th orb that looks like it grade, and never looked back. served a term as a bengal tiger’s scratching post. A ding in a helmet is more than just evidence of a past collision. Each chip, scar, or chunk of sticker missing from a helmet has a story behind it. I could pick up my helmet and point out individual gashes and streaks of paint, then tell you the story of how such an imperfection in the uniformity of my “bonnet” was acquired. But to me, the scars that criss-cross the front of a players’ helmet are as far from imperfections as Davante Adams’ (‘11) vertical jump is from mine. A ‘stick mark’ on a Paly Vike helmet is art: art acquired in the pursuit of perfection. From the moment I strapped on a helmet in 4th grade and had my first taste of contact, I was hooked. I fell in love with every aspect of the game and the culture that surrounds it. There is no feeling in the world like stepping onto the gridiron and awaiting the opening kickoff of a football game. On that field, mind and body are in sync, senses razor sharp, heart pounding, with the sights, sounds, and smells surrounding you blending together and magnifying. You feel untouchable. It’s the feeling I get any time I step out under the lights in the green and white with my brothers. It started in the Pop Warner days; Weighing less than 100 pounds, I would run around in bulky pads with the coordination of a baby deer. I distinctly remember being blocked into a gigantic puddle of mud during my first month of practice. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I emerged from the muck and walked home covered in mud, to the horror of my mother.

Jump ahead to 7th grade, when my Palo Alto Knights team went to Disneyworld to play in the national championship tournament, where we defeated a team from Pennsylvania on a last second pass from TJ Braff (’11) to Miles Anderson (’11). Skip forward 2 more years to freshman year. My first year of high school football. I start on the JV team for 2 games, then fracture my hand against Burlingame. Cast it up, throw a pad on, and were back in business less than a week later, playing against Oak Grove. 2 weeks after the first fracture on my left hand, I break my right wrist in a game against Mountain View, and don’t play again until the first cast comes off and I play in the final game of the season against Gunn. You can ask Coach Fung about me and Kevin Anderson (yes, Stanford-bound Kevin Anderson) working out at lunch, because we were too ashamed to let the seniors see us benching less than 135. We eventually got up to 135 with persistence and well, Kev never really stopped from there. I’m not as big as Kev, but we’ll blame that on genetics. Sophomore year: 10-0. Called up to Varsity. Whooped on on varsity. Realize I have to step it up. By the time junior year came around, I was 180 lbs and ready to roll. We had a great season, but lost a heartbreaker in the first round of the playoffs. By the time my senior year rolled around, I had never been more excited for “Hell Week”, and the start of the season. Jump again to the present, with a record of 13-0, I’ll tell you that nothing feels better than playing football into December. My final season of high school football, and we made it to Winter Break without stopping. Through the 2010 CCS playoffs every time I left the locker room and headed toward the field, I felt weighing on my shoulders the possibility that it could be my last game, and that no matter how far we had come, or how well we had done up to that point, it could all come to a screeching halt in one game. That feeling just makes you want it more. In three games, we squashed out the looming possibility of elimination. I know now when my last high school game will be. It will be the culmination of everything I have ever worked for in football: every double-day, workout, and wind sprint will come down to one final game, one last chance to leave everything on the field and shed blood for the ones who stand beside you. It will be one of the happiest moments of my life. It will also be one of the saddest. One of the first things my dad taught me when we would play catch in my youth was how to hold the ball. You tuck the pigskin hard into your elbow, squeezing with your forearm against your rib cage, and lacing your fingers over the exposed tip of the ball. It’s known as the ‘four points of pressure’, and it makes it nearly impossible for defenders to rip the ball away from you. My dad, whether he knew it or not, added a fifth point: a love for football, that I will hold on to forever. I’m never letting this game go. <<<

January 2011


Photo by Brandon Dukovic



After a nail-biting back-andforth match in the surprisingly empty Palo Alto High School gym, the Lady Vikes were unable to top league rival Los Gatos, falling to the Wildcats in five games. Game five was tight and neither team gave in. But after the score was tied 9-9, Los Gatos libero Kelly Piper (‘11) served an ace, giving Gatos a 10-9 lead. The Wildcats pounded past Paly, winning the final six points en route to their 15-9 game five victory. “I think we fought really hard,” Caroline Martin (‘12) said. “By the end, we really just let up.”

Unsung Hero Kimmy Whitson Best Moment “The Serve” by Maddie Kuppe in the State Championship

Best Championship Performance Melanie Wade

Photo by Brandon Dukovic


Vs. St. Francis (Sac.) W 3-1

This one was not easy. In front of a packed house in Palo Alto High School’s big gym the Paly volleyball team rooted out St. Francis of Sacramento with a teeth clenching 3-1 victory in the semifinals of the CIF Northern California state championships. This win was about more than just bringing Paly one step closer to a state championship: it was about revenge. It was last year in the semifinal game that St. Francis defeated Paly 3-1 to drop the Lady Vikes from the NorCal tournament. “Tonight it was going to take our leaders being leaders and they really did that. Each one of them stepped up at different times. It was a team effort,” coach Dave Winn said.


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As part of this special edition of The Viking, we would like to recognize every Paly sports fan who attended the games this season. Part of what makes high school sports such a unique experience is the ability to play for more than just yourself and your team. Paly athletes suit up in the green and white and represent the entire Paly community, and fans of all ages are an integral part of the experience.

Viking Volume 4 Issue 3 - Special Championship Edition  

The Paly volleyball and football teams both won CIF championships.

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