By Keith Peters
Palo Alto Online Sports
If Palo Alto High track coach Jason Fung is putting together a 'Help Wanted' sign just about now, it probably reads something like this:
"Looking for a tall, talented athlete with speed to burn. Must be able to run in the 10.50 range for 100 meters and 21.00 vicinity for the 200. Must like to run relays and have a heart of a champion. Apply ASAP."
After enjoying argubably one of the best track seasons, if not the best, in school history, Fung is without the athlete who helped make it happen -- E.J. Floreal.
Floreal will be joining his family in Kentucky this fall after his father, Edrick, resigned as Director of Track and Field at Stanford (see story on this web site) to take over the men's and women's programs at the University of Kentucky.
"It hasn't hit me yet," wrote Floreal in a text, "but it will. It's life though."
With Floreal moving out of state, the Palo Alto basketball and track programs have some big shoes to fill, aside from the fact the talented senior stands 6-foot-4.
In basketball last season, Floreal averaged 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and three assists per game while helping the Vikings to a 21-5 record, including a 10-2 finish in the SCVAL De Anza Division that helped earn him all-league honors.
It was in track and field, however, where Floreal really made his mark.
Despite competing in the sport for only his second season, Floreal helped the Vikings to the SCVAL De Anza Division dual-meet and league-meet titles, the team's first-ever Central Coast Section team championship and a tie for sixth place at the CIF State Meet in June.
Floreal set school records of 10.52 in the 100 meters, 21.16 in the 200 and anchored the Vikings to a school mark of 41.56 in the 400 relay. He won individual CCS titles in the 100, 200 and helped Paly win the 400 relay.
At the state meet, Floreal finished third in the 200, fourth in the 100 and helped the Vikings to a seventh place in the 400 relay. He became the first Paly athlete to earn a medal in the 100 and 200 in the state meet began in 1915.
With a solid group of runners and jumpers to support Floreal next season, Fung was hoping his Vikings could challenge for the CIF title. That possibility, however, is moving out of state.
Floreal had such a breakthrough season that it attracted interest from a number of universities who even wanted him to play football, a sport he hadn't played since he was 14.