Paly To the Pros
January 9, 2018
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Stu Pederson: 1978 Dodgers: Former Major League Baseball player Stu Pederson (‘78) started his impressive career at the grounds of Palo Alto High School (Paly). After his years at Paly, Pederson went on to play at three different institutions: Foothill College, University of South Carolina, and University of Pacific. After college, Pederson was drafted in the 9th round (209 overall) of the 1981 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pederson led the Vero Beach Dodgers (minor league team) in triples in the 1982 season. He was leaps and bounds ahead of the competition in the minors, batting .292 which is why he got the call to the big leagues. Pederson made his major-league debut on September 8, 1985. During his time in the majors he struggled to find ways to help the Dodgers win games. This shortcoming lead to his final game in the MLB on October 6, 1985. He failed to record a hit in the eight games he played, which left him with no batting average. The one stat he recorded was a run batted in by a sacrifice fly. He will always have a big league stat, which is more than millions of baseball players. After his baseball career, he went on to coach at Paly and Cupertino High School. He owns a family business that sells tickets for sporting events. Pederson is a father of four children; he has three sons and one daughter. Two out of three of Pedersons sons have played in the Dodgers farm system. Joc made it to the big leagues, and was an All Star his rookie year. His daughter Jacey is an elite soccer player at UCLA. Pederson has been able to settle down in Palo Alto and watch his family follow in his athletic footsteps.
Jim Harbaugh: Before playing and coaching for elite football teams, Jim Harbaugh (‘82) was an accomplished athlete at Palo Alto High School. After moving to Palo Alto from Michigan, Harbaugh competed in three separate varsity sports; football, baseball, and basketball. During his high school career he racked up some impressive numbers in all of his competitions, including a nearly 20 point game average during his senior basketball season. Based on a Viking article written by Sammy Solomon and Jonny Glazier, Harbaugh enjoyed his experience at Palo Alto High. “[Paly’s] academics are sensational,” Harbaugh said. “[Paly] Really helped prepare me for college which I always appreciate.” Harbaugh excelled academically and athletically at the University of Michigan. Harbaugh led the wolverines to the number two ranking in the country as a junior and placed third in the Heisman Trophy race as a senior. After college, Harbaugh played for four different teams in a span of 13 years in the league. He raked in an impressive 26,288 passing yards over his career and was nicknamed “Captain Comeback” for his ability to rally his team when they were down. After his long history of playing football, Harbaugh now is an elite coach. He coached for numerous teams including hometown favorites, the 49ers and Stanford University. Today you can find Harbaugh on the sidelines at University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he is currently trying to get the Wolverines up to Number two overall, as he did many years ago.
Christoph Bono: State Championship Quarterback and Minor league baseball player
From the start of his high school career, Christoph Bono (‘11) was a different kind of athlete. During the 2010 Paly school year, Bono led the fottball team with his quarterbacking skill to win a state championship in football, and was a key contributor to a quality baseball team. Bono’s skill at quarterback for the football team was what led them to great success. His completion rate at Paly was .657 while averaging 16 yards per pass. The next year he went on to win a CCS championship for baseball which is the only CCS championship for the sport in Paly’s records. During his two years playing varsity baseball, Bono recorded a stunning .352 with 57 total hits. It turned out that his niche was in baseball, which gave him the opportunity to play Division 1 at UCLA , which was in the Pac 12 conference. UCLA is a part of the Pac 12 conference and has a very competitive program, so for a player to go there they must be top notch. Along with his baseball skills, Bono was also an elite student. With the academics that Paly offers as a high school it made the transfer to a strong academic university not as hard as it could be. “Paly helped me prepare me for college by teaching me time management, prioritization, and how to balance being successful in the classroom, and on the field.” said Bono. His dreams in college were to get a strong education and find a way to make it to the College World Series (CWS). In 2013 his second dream came true; after winning the Super Regionals he had made it to the CWS. UCLA went on to defeat Mississippi State to win the National Championship. After his years in college, Bono was drafted in the 27th round of 2016 MLB Draft by the local San Francisco Giants. Soon after being drafted, Bono was traded to be a part of the San Diego Padres organization. He’s spending his time doing what he can do to try and make it to the Major Leagues.
Lily Zhang: After picking up her first table tennis paddle at the age of seven, Lily Zhang (‘14) has never looked back. At a young age she showed incredible skill. She started playing at the Palo Alto Table Tennis Club where she made the United States women’s national team at age 12, the youngest ever by a table tennis player. At Palo Alto high School, Zhang furthered her table tennis skills and confidence.
“Paly was fantastic in consistently supporting and encouraging my table tennis goals,” Zhang said.
Recently, on September 12th, 2017 nearly 400 thousand people viewed Zhang destroy her opponents in an Instagram post by the Bleacher Report. The video shows her impressive table tennis skills and amazing accomplishments of the 21 year-old. Zhang currently is attending UC Berkeley where she continues to prove herself as one of the best American table tennis players. She is a 4 time national ping pong champion and took gold and bronze at the Pan American Games in 2015. Zhang also competed in the 2012 Olympics in London and is training for the upcoming Olympics.
“I’m training a lot less than I did in high school, but I’m also planning on trying to graduate a semester earlier so I have the option of training full time in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics,” Zhang said.
As of now, Zhang is doing as much as she can to reach her overall goal of going to the Olympics and winning a medal.
“It would be such an honor and an absolute dream come true if I could win the first Olympic medal for the U.S.” Zhang said.