The community turned out yesterday to honor the Menlo-Atherton High School football team which last December became the the first team in the school’s history to win a championship. The  Bears defeated Lincoln (San Diego) 21-7 to win the CIF Division 3-AA State Championship. Top photo shows team with coach Adhir Ravipati with player Noa Ngalu.

Enthusiastic fans lined Santa  Cruz Avenue and cheered the team on as it marched with members of the cheer and dance squads to Burgess Park where school officials and others honored the champs.

Here at InMenlo, we give a huge shout out not only to the team, coaches and school administrators but, in particular to M-A junior Lena Kalotihos who did a superb job of photographing the festivities and supplying some commentary (given that we are “on assignment” and out of town). Here’s want Lena emailed:

“A good 400 people showed up to parade around the streets of Menlo Park, and to watch from the sides as well. [Menlo-Atherton Athletic Directors] Steven Kryger and Paul Snow (pictured above) road around in a vintage car at the front of the parade, as the cheer and spirit teams guided them up Santa Cruz and then on Burgess. The players were ecstatic. They were just happy to be there and to have the opportunity to celebrate their win with the Menlo Park community.

“The dance and spirit teams both performed enthusiastic performances on the way to Burgess. The parade was also joined by the Menlo Park fire fighters and the police as well with their vintage cop car. Principal Simone Kennel rode in the police car to Burgess, as the players and coaches took the stage. Kryger, Snow, head coach Adhir Ravipati, and Kennel all gave wonderful speeches as the crowd cheered. The players were congratulated by the mayors of East Palo Alto, Atherton, and Menlo Park. (Photo above is coach Adhir Ravipati with player Malik Johnson.)

“What I found most notable was their tribute to Aisea Mataele, the young player who passed away [two years ago when he was a freshman. ‘All for Aisea,’ they chanted with their hearts. The environment was filled with Bear Pride, celebration, and gratitude as well. It was definitely a sight to see as the Bears made history.”

Photos by Lena Kalotihos (c) 2019

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