Paly sports then and now

Soumya Jhaveri and Nisha McNealis

While much has changed in the world of sports over the past 60 years, many aspects of Palo Alto High School athletics remain the same. The Paly Voice explored the Paly Journalism Archive to create a series of then-and-now pictures of 10 Paly sports ranging from the 1950s to today.


The 1987-88 Paly football team was the first in seven years to beat rivals Santa Clara High School and Los Altos High School. Football remains an important part of Paly culture, even though the team was defeated in the first round of Central Coast Section playoffs last season.


Unlike the 1976 Paly wrestling team, the current team is coed and holds its meets in the new Peery Family Center. In the “after” picture below, Callum Day-Ham — now a junior on the team — defeats his opponent from Gunn High School in Feb. 2016.

Boys’ Tennis

Tennis was one of many sports offered at Paly in 1958, including gymnastics, bowling, archery and “lifesaving”. The 1958 team suffered only one loss their entire season compared to the 2017 team’s nine league losses.

Girls’ Tennis

The 1987 Girls’ tennis team was successful on and off the court with a 5-1 league record as well as a 3.97 average GPA. The current team had a league record of 3-7 after moving to the De Anza League this year but went undefeated in 2016 in the El Camino League, according to Maxpreps. In the “after” photo below, Paly alumna and former Varsity captain Meredith Cummings practices a backhand swing.


In 1982, the Paly baseball team played not only league games, but also competed against top contenders such as Menlo School and Woodside. Baseball remains one of Paly’s most popular sports, and the team hopes to bounce back from their loss in the CIF Central Coast Section baseball tournament last year with a successful 2018 season.

Girls’ Volleyball

Paly’s 1988 volleyball team performed well in their pre-season games, but had a league record of 2-5. The team’s record has improved in the past 30 years; they won consecutive state championships in 2010 and 2011 and most recently ended their season undefeated in league play with a ranking of 45th in California. In the “after” photo below, junior outside Mallory Kuppe serves during a match.

Boys’ Water Polo

The boys’ water polo team was an unexpected success in 1992, winning three tournaments in a row despite having lost several key players the year before. The 2017 team also suffered from the loss of critical seniors, beginning the season with only one returning starter.

Girls’ Soccer

The 1982 Varsity soccer team dominated at the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League and ended the season with just one loss. This season’s team also boasts an impressive record so far with ten wins, two draws and one loss.

Boys’ Soccer

While the boys’ soccer team was not very successful in 1982, the team has since gained momentum and is 9-3-2 overall this year.

Cross Country

Boys’ varsity Cross Country finished second in SCVALS in 1982 while girls’ varsity finished fifth. The team has done exceptionally well in the past years and had a few runners qualify for state championships. In the “after” picture below, senior Reed Foster competes in a scrimmage against Gunn and St. Francis High Schools.

Mr. Fung

Over 25 years after he played football for Paly, Jason Fung remains a core part of Paly Athletics, proving that some things never change.