Winter Sports Preview

As the end nears for fall season athletes, players and coaches around Palo Alto are looking upon the coming winter season with hope and ambition. Sports such as wrestling, basketball and soccer are already in the thick of preseason training. This winter will be a combination of teams looking to stay on top and others who will look to prove themselves.
After having won leagues last year, Paly boys, wrestling approaches the upcoming season with confidence. Junior Jordan Ganz is excited to prove himself once again.
“I feel like we really have a good shot this year,” Ganz said. “We [Paly wrestling] won leagues last year, and are gonna come after it with the same tenacity this season. I can’t wait to get out on the mat again.”
Having lost in CCS last year the team has become more unified in their pursuit of the title.
“It is apparent that the team has a new drive to win CCS this year since we just missed it last year,” Ganz said. “Its this goal that is bringing the team together this year.”
Boys’ basketball also looks to clinch the CCS title this year, after having lost 70-52 in the quarterfinals to number three seed St. Francis. Having finished the year with a winning record of 20 wins and only 4 losses, it will be a tough road to repeat the season the vikings had. But they aim to improve on their already stellar record.
“This year we aim to keep up our intensity going into the upcoming season,” senior Mathias Schmutz said. “We have been working hard this preseason and hope to win CCS this year.”
But with several key players having graduated last year, the team is forced to focus on rebuilding.
“We lost a lot of good seniors this year and have been working to replace the players we lost.” Schmutz said. “It will be interesting so see which new players step up.”
The girls’ basketball team also has high hopes for the upcoming season. After finishing the regular season with a record of 17 wins and 4 losses, the team ended up with a three way tie for leagues with Wilcox and Gunn. As CCS began the Vikings eased their way to the championship game by beating Salinas, 52-36 and Wilcox, 45-33. As the final game rolled around Paly was all set to play Gunn in a battle for the coveted CCS title. But the Vikings would eventually lose 41-39, claiming second in CCS. With the success they had last year an added pressure is felt on the squad.
“This year all the girls on the team are trying extra hard and really getting focused for the upcoming season,” junior Hope Crockett said, “With the loss of several key seniors a pressure is put on the team to prove we are still great, so we have been working hard during offseason conditioning to get ready for the upcoming season.”
After a winless season of with a record of 0-8-2, boys’ varsity soccer looks to rebuild their season and prove that with a new found mentality they have what it takes. Last year due to injuries and conflict with club teams the Vikings lost several key players,  while only one starter returned for the 2011-2012 season. The loss of personnel was apparent as the losing streak began for the Vikings. 
“Last year was more of a transitional period,” preseason captain Paul Stefanski said, “But since then we have grown as a team. This year we are bigger, stronger and faster, and since its almost the same roster as last year most of us are used to working together. I think we are looking at a dominate team this year.”

The team also consists of several young players, bringing fresh blood to a team that was in a critical need of players.

“I’m expecting great things from the four freshmen who were on varsity last year, especially Paul Mewes,” Stefanski said. “I think that by his senior year Paul has what it takes to be one of the best players on the team. I am also expecting a lot from Steven Blatman on the defensive end,” Stefanski said. “He is a solid player. Wesley Woo and Preston Kuppe have also shown significant improvement from last year.”

Lastly, girls soccer having won only five games overall last season look to spring back to the top. With new players stepping up this year the team hopes to make CCS this year, having fallen short in the 2011-2012 season.

“Last year was not our best season,” junior Sunny Lyu said. “But this year we hope to win leagues and make it as far into CCS as possible.”

The teams has high hopes for the upcoming season as they look to their young players to prove themselves.

“A talented new player on the team this year is freshman Jacey Pederson,” Lyu said. “She has great fundamental skills and i look forward to having her on the team.”

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