Water polo prepares for season


Sandra Koretz

Shooting into season: Jack Burghardt ’23 winds up to gather power before shooting the ball between two defenders in the team’s pre-season training. Boys water polo looks to start its season off strong in its Mission League home opener against St. Francis High School on Aug. 25.

Danny Johnson

Last year’s water polo season was postponed from the fall to the spring due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Playoffs were ultimately canceled, and the team was unable to contend for a championship. 

The Wolverines finished their shortened season with an overall record of 8-1, and a league record of 5-0. The team dominated opponents with an average victory margin of six goals. They have an opportunity to win its third consecutive California Interscholastic Federation Southern-Section (CIF-SS) Division 1 championship, previously winning in 2018 and 2019.

Center Jeffrey Koretz ’23 said the team has become stronger over the off-season. 

“Simply put, we spent this off-season on improving,” Koretz said. “Our goal was to improve as much as possible both individually and in our chemistry as a team so that when it comes down to the wire, we can be prepared to adapt for anything that comes our way.”

Koretz played for the 2019 championship team, and said he will never forget the feeling of winning with his teammates. 

“I am feeling very excited to finally have a full season again and the opportunity to win another championship this year,” Koretz said.

During the summer, Boys Water Polo Program Head Brian Flacks, Coach Matt Kubeck, Baxter Chelsom ’23, Jaxson Tierney ’23, Christopher Arakelian ’23 and Daniel Mnatsakanian ’23 traveled to Budapest to represent the U.S. on the Men’s Cadet National Team. Chelsom said he enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to travel with his friends.

“My trip to Budapest really opened my eyes to all the places water polo can take me,” Chelsom said. “It was amazing [to represent] my country. [Competing] at the same time as the Olympics was inspiring as well because it gave me a glimpse into the possibilities that come from my sport.” 

Ben Oerlemans ’24 said the team is confident and ready to win again. He said he noticed improvements in the team’s skill set over the summer. 

“I have seen our team grow exponentially over the start of the new season,” Oerlemans said. “We are stronger, faster, and our efforts have really shown through in the water. I am excited for what the season holds.”

The team will start its highly anticipated season against the St. Francis High School Golden Knights and the Crespi Carmelite High School Celts, on Aug. 25 and Aug. 27, respectively. 

The team looks to redeem itself against the Newport Harbor High School Sailors Oct. 2. The Sailors handed the Wolverines their only loss in the 2020-2021 competitive season.