New program introduced, new coaches at Palo Alto High


Introducing Field Hockey as Palo Alto's newest sport, following boys' volleyball last spring, was not a hasty decision. When the Vikings open their season in September, it will be the culmination of a two-year process.

For Palo Alto Athletic Director Therren Wilburn-Sudduth, it was one of his first items of business when he took over the job after serving as the assistant A.D.

Jennifer Crane/Cal Athletics
Through all the hard work it took to launch the program, from informing the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (the Vikings will play in the El Camino Division) of the school's intention of fielding a team, to managing facilities, hiring a coach and procuring equipment, Wilburn-Sudduth kept the students in mind.

"I am most excited about the chance to offer another athletic opportunity to the students at Paly," he said. "Also, our coach is second to none when it comes to Field Hockey experience."

Jenny Crane, who grew up in Los Gatos (and is a member of the Union Middle School Hall of Fame) played for the Wildcats and later for St. Francis and played four years at California, where she led the Golden Bears to a pair of conference championships and served as team captain. She graduated in 2008.

Palo Alto began a club team in the sport last school year to prepare for this season. The Vikings haven't held an official practice yet but the student body has been responsive and supportive.

"Jenny will have a great chance to build a program at Paly," said Wilburn-Sudduth.

Palo Alto will also have a new boys water polo coach in Ethan Look, a recent graduate of Vanderbilt, where he played club water polo, served as co-President and also coached the team as a senior.

"I've always had an interest in coaching," said Look, who works at Google. "There's something very special about working with young student-athletes in the formative years of their lives."

In addition to playing at Palo Alto under coaches Giovanni Napolitano and Sasha Potulnitsky, Look also played for Shoreline Water Polo and coaches Brandon Johnson and Matt Johnson, and for the Stanford club.

"Hopefully, I'll be able to set an example to them of what it means to be a competitive student-athlete in Palo Alto while maintaining a strong school-life-water polo balance," Look said. "I think I'm uniquely qualified for this role because I so recently passed through Paly and PAUSD, so I have an acute understanding of the day-to-day lives of these young people."

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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5 people like this
Posted by Inside Track
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 10, 2018 at 5:55 pm

Inside Track is a registered user.

Congrats to both. Hopefully, the fact that Ethan Look's mother has been the President of Paly Sports Boosters for the past several years didn't factor into his hiring.

2 people like this
Posted by GraceBrown
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 10, 2018 at 6:28 pm

GraceBrown is a registered user.

@Inside Track

Anytime we can get more young people engaged - it's a good thing. Kudos to Mrs. Anderson, AD Wilburn-Sudduth, Paly Admin, and 25 Churchill. Thanks to all who put in the extra effort to grow such opportunities for high school kids in Palo Alto.


5 people like this
Posted by Sure
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 10, 2018 at 6:37 pm

@Inside Track: There's politics everywhere, everyday. Surely, his mom's position helped, but he also seems qualified, on paper, at least. The worst is when less qualified people are promoted, but that happens often. Those with parents in positions of power are fortunate. Just a fact of life. Politics also prevails at sports tryouts. Politics are everywhere.

Like this comment
Posted by Lynn Brown
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 19, 2018 at 5:32 pm

Dear Mr. 'Inside Track',

You need to check your facts. What a despicable thing to say. First, Mr. Welburn-Sudduth would NEVER not hire the best coach possible. NEVER. He has great integrity and high values, and would never compromise what is best for student athletes. Second, Melissa Anderson would NEVER use her position wrongly. Finally, good coaches are hard to find. We are very fortunate to have a superior one in Coach Look. You own those folks an apology! Cripe.

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