By Nick Michael
Photo by Stephanie Kim
For most students here at South Pasadena High School, the beginning of the school year is relatively easygoing, as they become familiar with their new classes and teachers. However, for the boys’ water polo team, it is anything but that. The boys have no time to relax, since the season starts in the second week of school, demanding players to spend grueling hours in practice and weight training.
“We’ve been working hard for many weeks,” junior Nic Madrigal said, “and leading up to the season, we have been putting in a lot of time in the weight room as well as the pool.”
One of the main incentives for working hard this year is to improve on last year’s unexceptional effort. The team finished in 4th place in the Rio Hondo League with a 3-5 league record, two of those wins coming against Monrovia, who went 0-8.
The boys lost in their most recent scrimmage to Malibu by a score of 13-5. However, Malibu won CIF in their division last year, and it is unlikely that the Tigers will come up against an opponent that strong during the season.
Another big factor heading into the new season is the lack of experience. After the graduation of Will Renken, Ryan Rodriguez, and Courtland Blake, no experienced seniors remain on the team. However, while most would see this as a disadvantage, the players think otherwise.
“Not having seniors this year is actually a good thing,” junior Rob Decker said. “With all of us being juniors and sophomores, we have a lot of time to improve, bond, and build team chemistry.”
Team chemistry will be one of the Tigers’ strongest aspects this year. Most of the players have been playing together since middle school, and thus have developed a strong team bond. The players hope to use this to their advantage as the season progresses.
Overall, the boys’ water polo team is optimistic heading into the 2015-16 season. Even without seniors, the team’s great rapport should work to their benefit as it looks to improve upon last year’s season, and maybe even qualify for CIF.