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Water polo’s rising stars

Head+Coach+Brian+Drumm+addresses+the+team+during+a+game+against+Saint+Charles+North.+
Head Coach Brian Drumm addresses the team during a game against Saint Charles North.

Head Coach Brian Drumm addresses the team during a game against Saint Charles North.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Rodgers

Photo courtesy of Stuart Rodgers

Head Coach Brian Drumm addresses the team during a game against Saint Charles North.

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On Saturday, May 12, the York Boys Water Polo team hosted a top-seeded Fenwick Friars team in the sectional championship with a trip to state on the line. Previously, York lost to Fenwick by a score of 12 to 7. This Saturday, with a chance of redemption and a trip to state for the first time in two years, the Friars ended the Dukes season by a score of 8 to 6.

Now, typically when a team consists of five seniors there is a large hole left in the team for the future years. However, York had a varsity team that included five sophomore players who are capable and have shown the ability to fill this gap to hopefully keep the program in winning fashion in the future.

“It has gotten a lot more physical this year for sure and the game moves a lot faster at the varsity level as well,” sophomore Jay Jensen said. “There’s a lot more chances to score on JV when you are going against lower level goalies. But this year we have played some of the best goalies in the state, and when we play teams like Lyons Township and Fenwick you have to work a lot harder to score and compete because they are two of the best teams in the state.”

Jay Jensen and other sophomore Michael Mckenna are two athletes who were given the opportunity to start for the varsity team this season, after starting on the JV team the previous season. Alongside Liam Enright, Carson Hicks, and Will Yasdick, the team was a good mixture of veterans and athletes new to the varsity level.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Rodgers
Carson Hicks fights for the ball against opposing players on Saint Charles North.

“The biggest difference on the varsity level is that instead of being a standout player everyone is just as good or even better than you are,” sophomore Will Yasdick said. “It’s hard to perform your best during every game when the competition is a lot more intense.”

For the other sophomores apart of this team, it did not come as easy. Both Liam Enright and Will Yasdick have spent time playing for both the JV and varsity teams. With any sport, the difference between playing at those levels will always show a range of competitiveness and talent. Participating at the JV level provides a way for athletes to improve their skill set in hope for the opportunity to compete against varsity players in the future.

“My main goal was to become a better swimmer and a better teammate in and out of the pool, and scoring as many goals as I can,” sophomore Liam Enright said. “Jv coach Colin Albue has helped me along the way to become a better teammate and work on my leadership skills so when it’s game time I can make a big difference.”

Leadership is key in developing new or young athletes. These underclassmen are new to this level of competition and it takes guidance from many people in order to help them improvise and adapt to the varsity game for the future. Each athlete has a different experience with their coaches and teammates. These relationships help shape a player in many different ways.

“Isaac Marlot, who is a junior on varsity, is one of the smartest players I’ve played with,” Mckenna said. “He was also a sophomore on varsity and was small like me and Jay. He was able to overcome it and play really good water polo and he is always pushing us in practice and giving constructive criticism which helps us to continue getting better.”

Photo courtesy of Stuart Rodgers
Jay Jensen nets a goal in a game against Saint Charles North.

Once they gained a starting spot on the team and realized their potential, Jensen and Mckenna refused to stop working at it. Yorks Varsity Water Polo team spent the majority of their season within the top 15 teams in Illinois. By having a ranking so great, the competition only increased. Naturally, they had to match up with the best the state had to offer and Yorks younger players did not shy away from anybody.

“My favorite moment this year was when we played Saint Charles North, which was also when I had my season high in goals with four,” Jensen said. “We actually lost to them earlier this year at the Conant tournament. We played bad the first game and it was really nice to come out at home and beat them 12-6. I really enjoyed coming back at them and beating them by a lot. It showed how we developed a lot throughout the season as a team over those two months.”

Not only did these underclassmen rise to the occasion, but they also managed to have some huge performances throughout the season. Whether it was a conference opponent or a close game, these players never backed down to anyone.

“My favorite moment was the game against Hinsdale Central early on in the season because it was a breakout game for me,” Mckenna said. “I ended up with 5 goals that game and it was a really tight game that we won 16 to 14. We usually don’t compete that well with them and it was really cool that my teammates Isaac Marlot and Jay Jensen had five and three goals each to contribute to the win as well.”

Photo courtesy of Stuart Rodgers
Head Coach Brian Drumm addresses the team during a game against Saint Charles North.

Now that this season has officially come to an end, these rising stars of the water polo program will focus on other sports as well as water polo. Whether it is Football, Cross Country, or Swim, the offseason allows these players to spend time working on their attributes and improve before next spring. But it seems as if this program will not be in a shortage of talent anytime soon.

“I also participate in football and wrestling and both differ from water polo because you don’t need to be a very big and strong athlete to take over the game and make big plays,” Enright said. “Nothing is going to stop the dog from coming out.”

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