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The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Senior announces commitment to play water polo at Stanford University

Johanna Del Regno
Ben Oerlemans ’24 winds up to shoot in a game against Newport Harbor High School Sept. 30.

Boys’ water polo attacker Ben Oerlemans ’24 officially announced his commitment to play Division 1 water polo at Stanford University on Oct. 5. According to the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) 2023 Men’s Varsity Top 20 Poll released Oct. 4, Stanford is currently ranked fifth in the country. After taking a gap year to play water polo overseas in the Netherlands, Oerlemans will join the class of 2029.

Boys’ water polo program head Jack Grover said Oerlemans has grown significantly as a player both offensively and defensively.

“I’m really happy for [Oerlemans] and I believe he put in the work to earn that spot,” Grover said. “He’s grown on both sides of the ball. Offensively, he is someone we can count on to play both sides of the pool. He’s put in a lot of time learning all sorts of around-the-block shots, but more importantly, he is able to control our attack when the ball is in his hand. We have a tendency to play too rushed when we are not at our best and [Oerlemans] possesses the maturity to be a voice of reason in those moments. On the other side of the ball, I don’t think anyone has been getting more shot blocks or deflections on passes. He’s been super gritty defensively and it’s been infectious to the guys around him.”

Grover said Oerlemans’s maturity as a leader has prepared him to play at the collegiate level.

“Despite his improvement as a player, his biggest area of growth has been as a leader,” Grover said. “We are a group that likes to have fun, but [Oerlemans] has found the balance of when it is time to be serious and is really good at bringing the group back to center when we have pushed that boundary. It’s easy to say you want to be a champion, but takes a whole lot more to live wanting to be a champion. [Oerlemans’s] actions have demonstrated the latter and I’m really excited to see his work pay off in the future.”

Oerlemans said he chose Stanford because of the university’s excellence in both athletics and academics.

“I chose Stanford because it was the perfect place for me to get the best of both athletic and academic worlds,” Oerlemans said. “I felt a strong connection to the beautiful, large, open campus and the wealth of opportunities for academic freedom they offer. On top of that, I also got some flexibility to take a year abroad, which I believe will be full of exciting and new experiences.”

Oerlemans said he is grateful for everyone who has helped him along his career as a water polo player.

“The first people that come to mind are, obviously, all of my teammates and coaching staff,” Oerlemans said. “It would do a lot of injustice to a lot of people to name one person specifically, since many of the people who I’ve ever interacted with on the pool deck, positively or negatively, have taught me things about myself and the people around me. Many alumni have had a massive influence on me as well. The only thing I could really say is that I’m thankful for the people that put their trust and effort into me.”

Oerlemans and the team will face JSerra Catholic High School at home during the school’s 2023 Homecoming on Oct. 7.

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