New lacrosse coach aims high

Jared Schwartz, Author

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Senior Tully McAllister dashes toward goal, leaving a Burlingame defender in the dust during Paly's 13-12 loss to Burlingame High School last year.

Senior Tully McAllister dashes toward goal, leaving a Burlingame defender in the dust during Paly’s 13-12 loss to Burlingame High School last year. Photo by Matt Ersted.

The Palo Alto High School boys’ lacrosse team is working to become an elite level program this year under a new coach.

DJ Shelton has inherited the coaching position from former coach Craig Conover, who had coached the varsity boys’ lacrosse team at Paly since 2010.

“DJ seems like a great guy and is very dedicated to the team,” senior midfielder Jordan Gans said. “He is very enthusiastic and I think we will have a good year because of it.”

Shelton graduated from Paly in 2008 and played lacrosse in the area before attending Goucher College to play Division III lacrosse. He has high hopes for the young Paly lacrosse program.

“I believe it is time to transform the program into a top-tier lacrosse team that performs in all levels of the game,” Shelton said.

According to Shelton, he will bring his experience coaching with Mountain View High School, Tomahawks Lacrosse and Team NorCal, as well as experience as a defender to benefit Paly. Senior defender James Harrison agrees that his experience will be beneficial.

“He [Shelton] has been very enthusiastic and very engaging,” Harrison said. “He will bring some intensity and new plays and strategy based on his experiences in Division III lacrosse that will help our team be successful.”

Shelton is not only focused on lacrosse, but also his players’ overall success.

“I want my student-athletes to be immersed in a culture of excellence on and off the field,” Shelton said. “My understanding of their academic requirements will help me format a realistic plan of action and a set goals that we can all rally behind, and then execute.”

Gans appreciates the support that Shelton gives his players.

“He expects only the best from us and because of that we perform better, which will help us during the season,” Gans said.

With hard work from his players, Shelton says the Vikings can be a very successful team.

“I want to to foster the competitive and elite level of play that Paly lacrosse is not only deserving of, but capable of, too,” Shelton said.