Photo credit: Bob Dahlberg

Who is our rival? It’s hard to say. There are four schools that usually come to mind: Sacred Heart Prep (SHP), Menlo School, Woodside High School, and Sequoia High School. 

An obvious candidate for M-A’s biggest rival is SHP. Over the years, the SHP-M-A rivalry has become much more intense, mainly because of the private-public school dynamic. According to Kevin Shvodian, a junior at M-A, “It’s the fact that we are a public school and they are a private school that makes beating them enjoyable.” Shvodian added, “imagine paying $40K a year to be that bad at football.” SHP’s athletes are an equal match for M-A’s across most sports, which adds to that feeling of competition. For example, in the recent Homecoming Game, M-A narrowly defeated SHP 26-20. As the score of the game stayed close late into the fourth quarter, fans only got more excited. Close, intense games like the recent homecoming game fuel the rivalry because more students come to the games if there is consistent competition between the two schools. 

In a recent Instagram poll on the M-A Chronicle Instagram, the followers voted on which school is M-A’s biggest rival. In the two preliminary rounds, Woodside defeated Sequoia 62 votes to 31, and SHP defeated Menlo 73 votes to 24. The winners of the preliminary rounds faced off in a final round, where SHP defeated Woodside 77 votes to 21.

However, a substantial problem in this rivalry is that SHP does not consider M-A as their biggest rival. After interviewing multiple SHP students, every single one said that Menlo School is SHP’s biggest rival. Wilson Weisel, a senior at SHP, said, “I think Menlo is our biggest rival just because it has been that way for a long time.” Maddie Levey, a SHP junior, said, “Menlo is definitely our biggest rival, but M-A seems to consider SHP as their biggest rival.” SHP juniors, Teddy Purcell and Harrison Carrington also both agreed with their classmates that Menlo is SHP’s biggest rival. 

When interviewed, M-A students did not consider Menlo as important a rival as SHP because Menlo athletics gives M-A less competition in general. While SHP only lost to M-A 26-20 in football this season, Menlo lost to M-A 42-3 last season. Less competition in athletics makes a rivalry less tense because the games are less interesting to go to. However, being a cross-town rival and a private school, Menlo is still considered a rivalry game in any sport when M-A plays them.

Like SHP, Menlo students consistently agree that SHP is their biggest rival. Christian Corcoran, a Menlo junior, claims, “I definitely want to win when we play M-A, but I think SHP is a bigger rival because we are on the same street.” Another junior at Menlo, Marisa Castagna agrees with Corcoran that games with M-A are “always a popular and competitive game, but Menlo’s biggest rival is definitely SHP.” 

Another school that has to be in the debate over M-A’s biggest rival is Woodside High School. Woodside is a classic, cross town rival of M-A and is in our school district. The two schools have faced off in every sport since Woodside was created in 1958, making it a long lasting rivalry. However, the actual level of competition varies from sport to sport. In volleyball, Woodside senior, Lena McDonough, says, “Woodside and M-A have been in the same league for volleyball the last three years and the games have gotten very heated.” In contrast to football, where Woodside graduate and former football player Scott Morimoto, says, “there was never any real competition because Woodside always knew they were going to lose when they played M-A.”  

The final contender is Sequoia High School, mainly for the same reasons as Woodside, a long time, cross town, public school rival. Yet, like the SHP-Menlo rivalry, most Woodside and Sequoia students consider the other school as their biggest rival over M-A. This means that once again, two of M-A’s main rivals actually have a bigger rivalry with each other over M-A. Kyle Knudson, Woodside junior, and Luke Buddie, Woodside sophomore, both consider Sequoia to be Woodside’s biggest rival. On the Sequoia side, Hugo Greenhill, Sequoia senior, says, “M-A and Sequoia are definitely big rivals, but there is more hype for the games in all sports against Woodside, so I would consider Woodside as Sequoia’s biggest rivals.”  

Considering that the four schools that are in the running for M-A’s biggest rival all have separate larger rivalries with another school in the group of four, the debate over M-A’s biggest rival has to look past the fact that M-A might not be these schools biggest rival. Despite this news, given the Instagram poll and the palpable sense of excitement in the crowds due to the highly competitive games, SHP is M-A’s biggest rival.

Cole Trigg

Cole Trigg is a first year journalist for the M-A Chronicle. Cole currently attends Menlo Atherton High School as a sophomore. He will primarily be writing sports stories in the 2018-2019 school year.

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