Pali High Seniors Receive Athletic Honors

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

A number of Palisades High athletes were recognized for their contributions to their teams at the school’s annual Senior Awards Banquet last Thursday in the gym.

Jessie Bierschenk

Winning the oldest award, the Palisadian-Post Cup, which has been presented to the outstanding senior athletes every year since the school opened in 1961, were girls volleyball captain Keely McMahon and football/baseball player Jake Nadley (see story Page 9).

For the first time there were two recipients of the James A. Mercer Scholar-Athlete Award, a $1,000 scholarship for a student with an excellent scholastic record who has excelled in service and leadership and has participated in at least two sports—twin sisters Sammy and Ally Stahl, who guided the girls water polo and lacrosse teams to their first City titles. The scholarship is named in honor of James A. Mercer, who served as Pali High principal from 1970-1982.

Luke Hansen
Lucas Braun

Cross country and track runner and straight ‘A’ student Jessica Bierschenk and boys basketball point guard and captain Nick Kerkorian were awarded Palisades Rotary Leader/Athlete Scholarships ($250 each) given to student-athletes who demonstrate leadership, service to the community, good academics and good citizenship.

The Rose Gilbert All-Around Achievement Scholarship for $1,000, presented to an athlete  with a high academic record who  demonstrates school spirit and is a top performer in his/her sport went to UCLA-bound setter Marcus Partain, who led the Dolphins’ boys volleyball team to its third straight City Section title and the semifinals of the SoCal Division I Regionals.

The Rose Gilbert Woman Scholar-Athlete Award, a $1,000  scholarship given to a female student who is a highly academic student and a top athlete, was given to Francesca Van Norden, anchor of the girls soccer team’s defense and an All-City first-team pick.

Ali Zafar-Khan
Frankie Van Norden

Receiving Pali High Booster Club Exceptional Scholar-Athlete honors (eight scholarships, each worth $250) were Shylynn Smith (cheerleading), Theo Trask (boys water polo), Ali Zafar Khan (boys golf), Lucas Braun (baseball), Luke Hansen (City 160-pound wrestling champion), Grace Winter (girls swimming), Brittany Darrow (cross country/track) and Alex Miller (girls tennis).

The Travis DeZarn Memorial Scholarship for Lacrosse (in honor of a former Pali High graduate and lacrosse player) was presented to Emerson-bound middie Jack O’Rourke, who led the Dolphins’ boys squad to its fourth straight City title and fifth in six years and  its first L.A. Invitational Tournament championship last month.