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Water Polo team welcomes talented freshmen

Sophomore+Paris+Wilken+and+freshman+Ryan+Mendonsa+swim+for+the+ball+as+part+of+their+preparation+during+water+polo+practice.
Sophomore Paris Wilken and freshman Ryan Mendonsa swim for the ball as part of their preparation during water polo practice.

Sophomore Paris Wilken and freshman Ryan Mendonsa swim for the ball as part of their preparation during water polo practice.

Paloma Gonzales

Paloma Gonzales

Sophomore Paris Wilken and freshman Ryan Mendonsa swim for the ball as part of their preparation during water polo practice.

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The boy’s water polo team began preparation the week of Feb. 21, a week earlier than other spring sports teams.

“For the first week, it was a lot of basic work, especially for the JV group,” head coach Charlie Cutelli said. “For the varsity group, we’ll be getting more into the style of offense and defense that we want to play. I’ve always said that the season is a process, and we can’t learn everything we want to learn in three weeks.”

Junior and varsity player Andrew Wachter, has participated in water polo for three years and has worked in the off-season in order to maximize their performance.

“A lot of people are doing club teams that compete off season with one another. I’m also cutting back on eating habits,” Wachter said.

Freshmen and junior varsity player Walker Piles spent his off season participating in winter water polo. This will be his first year playing for the school team.

“The Jungle Cats really got me back into the swing of things and got me back in the pool,” Piles said.

The team gained nine freshmen players, with seven of them being experienced players.

Paloma Gonzales
Assistant coach Brian Welch discussing with members of the team during one of their practices.

“I am excited about our freshmen class that is coming in,” Assistant Coach Brian Welch said. “This is the first year that we’ve had more than two students that have played prior to getting to high school, so I believe that will help in our success.”

Whether or not an athlete has experience does not matter to senior and captain Mitchell Griffin, his goal is to help his teammates become better water polo players regardless of skill.

“At the beginning of the season, I stress that the older and more experienced athletes really push themselves and wear weight belts to make their legs stronger,” Griffin said. “I am also available during both JV and varsity practices to help instruct the younger kids on ways to shoot and pass properly.”

As the season moves forward, the coaches do not feel that their game plan from previous season needs any repairs.

“We do what we do,” Cutelli said. “Our philosophy is that the things that we’ve been doing, like our style of offense and defense, doesn’t need to change just because of who we’re playing.”

Overall, the players have a positive feel towards the progress of the season.

“We have a really strong team this season,” junior Alex Volz said. “With just a few weeks into practice we were doing full drills, and working on all sorts of bodily training that is tear jerking and painful but worth every moment of it.”

The team’s first game is scheduled at and against Parkway Central on March 21 at 4:30 p.m. for JV, and 5:30 p.m. for varsity.

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Water Polo team welcomes talented freshmen