School celebrates graduating athletes at annual Signing Day

Senior Xavier Esquer prepares to officially sign his contract to play baseball at the University of Arizona at the annual Signing Day on Friday in the Peery Family Center. Baseball head coach Pete Fukuhara, who had three players signing at the event, said he was really sad because they had been a part of the team for years now. “It’s so amazing to see them [the athletes] grow up, so it’s tough to see them go,” Fukuhara said. “But the best thing for them obviously is to go to the next level, and they’re ready.”

Twenty-one Vikings who will attend various colleges around the nation to play sports were honored Friday at Palo Alto High School’s annual Signing Day.

After a quick introduction by the school’s band, Paly Sports Booster President Kristen Andersen, Paly’s new athletic director Jenny Crane and Principal Brent Kline each gave short speeches to introduce the athletes and congratulate them on their accomplishments.

It was an exciting event because we’re celebrating these student athletes for all of the hard work that they put in,” Andersen said. “Just seeing them, persevere and be able to land a spot on a college team despite the pandemic is kind of amazing.”

According to senior John Miller, who is going to Grinnell College for cross country and track, the community around Paly has been a large part of his current achievements.

“My teachers and my parents have always been supportive of me,” Miller said. “I think it wouldn’t have been possible without their support.”

Athletes who signed at the event:

  • JT Bard (Pitzer College), Natalia Cossio (Pitzer College), Mateo Fesslmeier (Santa Clara University), James Miller (Occidental College), John Miller (Grinnell College) for cross country and track
  • Henry Bolte (University of Texas at Austin), Xavier Esquer (University of Arizona), Daniel Peters (San Francisco State) for baseball 
  • Blake Chase (Wagner College) for football
  • Hillary Cheung (University of Chicago), Thea Enache (San Diego State University), Alex Franklin (West Valley College), Olivia Harrison (George Washington University), Amelia Vugrincic (University of California Berkeley) for volleyball
  • Cade Creighton (University of Chicago) for wrestling  
  • Mariana Kessinger (Cornell University) for soccer 
  • Kevin Lee (Occidental College) for golf 
  • Iris Li (Vassar College), Kamila Wong (Johns Hopkins University) for tennis 
  • Ryan Lyken (College of San Mateo) for basketball
  • Audrey Teo (Brandeis University), April Wu (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for swimming and diving

“Congratulations to all the student athletes here,” Kline said. “Not only have you provided great sportsmanship and your awesome talents to your teams, but what I appreciate the most is the leadership that you’ve shown and provided daily at Paly. So thank you so much for what you’ve contributed, and I want to wish you the best of luck.”