The Paly Voice

Six athletes sign National Letters of Intent

Grant Raffel, Author

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Six Palo Alto High School athletes will play Division I sports in college after they signed their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday during a ceremony in Paly’s big gym.

The athletes, all seniors, included football players Kevin Anderson and Davante Adams, girls’ soccer player Alex Kershner, boys’ soccer player Tony Panayides, baseball player T.J. Braff and boys’ lacrosse player Zach Spain. All of the players expressed positive thoughts about both athletics and academics at the schools of their choice.

Stanford offers, “a combination of academics and athletics and there’s no other school in the nation that’s top five in football and top five in academics,” said all-state defensive end and offensive lineman Anderson. “I thought I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like that.”

Anderson’s teammate, cornerback and wide receiver Adams is looking forward to attending Fresno State University.

“I went down [to Fresno] on my visit and I haven’t seen better coaches, except for here at Palo Alto,” Adams said. “Everything was just perfect. I like the campus, it’s a good school, they have a good football program, and I know I’ll have a lot of fun there.”

Goalie Kershner, who will be attending Duke University, liked the idea of going there, but initially didn’t know if she would be able to play soccer.

“Duke was my dream school,” Kershner said. “My dad went there, [I] grew up being a Duke fan, [so] it was an obvious choice to look at but I never thought I could play at that level. Then I started talking to the coaches and they were interested in me and it just seemed like the right place and felt like a good fit for me.”

Braff, who will attend Santa Clara University and sees himself playing third base or outfield, is excited for the opportunity to play baseball in college.

“Just everything about the school drew me towards it,” Braff said. “I like the whole coaching staff, the baseball field is really nice, and it’s a great education.”

Both Panayides and Spain echoed remarks made by the other athletes looking forward to competing at the Division I level in soccer and lacrosse, respectively. Panayides will attend Colgate University, while Spain will go to Presbyterian College.

The ceremony, which included more athletes than in previous years, opened with brief remarks from Principal Phil Winston and Athletic Director Earl Hansen. Both of them commented on the strength of Paly athletics and the pride they feel toward the six individuals.

Following Winston’s and Hansen’s statements, the athletes came up one by one to sign their NLIs. The athletes came to the table wearing gear from their respective colleges and sat in front of the crowd. They were accompanied by their parents and coaches.

A rally to honor all Paly athletes playing sports at the collegiate level will take place in late April, according to National Signing Day event co-planner Anne Anderson.

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