San Dieguito Academy Boys Water Polo continues to grow

The San Dieguito Academy Boys Water Polo Team 2011 is in its second year of existence and was organized by team parents in cooperation with the school.

Because of a desire to have a team and with the hard work by parent Virginia Sullivan, SDA officially had its first boys novice and junior varsity water polo team last year. This year, SDA had its first varsity team, along with a junior varsity team.

New coach Ryan Upper comes to the team as a 12-year military veteran and Army officer. He was a two-time swimming All-American at Riverside community college. In 2005 he came in third place in the Masters Waterpolo National Championships.

Upper has experience coaching water polo for the University of Redlands, Riverside, University of Arizona and as a SDSU club and clinic coach.

The SDA varsity team this year includes two seniors: Kolten Horner and Ritchie O’Reilly, along with Zak Dahl, Jared Davis, Sebastian Johnson, Danny Sullivan, Zachary Stevens, Nate Willert, David Martinez, and Cole Teza.

The junior varsity team includes Cole Driscoll, Cooper Hoffman, Matias Marquez, Todd Petrassi, Peter Mlynar, Jacob Tuffs, Austin Caras, Cameron Waggoner, Chris Bennett, and Alex Vickery.

The teams have played hard this year, despite the varsity 2-5 record, and gaining this year with the junior varsity 3 wins and 2 losses. Coach Upper has had to deal with several challenges this year, particularly pool practice time. Since SDA does not have a pool, the team has had to commute to the UCSD pool, with boys swimming from 7-8:30 p.m. They also swim at the Monroe Pool in Carlsbad, with the only available hours from 8-10 p.m. The team has had all away games because there has not been a pool available to the team. As a result, team parents have held several fundraisers to help with the pool rental costs and have helped to provide transportation.

The season’s final games were held Nov. 1 and Nov. 2. A recognition event for players and volunteers will be held at the SDA Waterpolo Awards Banquet on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the Encinitas Community Center.