Girls water polo dynasty continues with their 5th straight state title

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TOWAMENCIN- 5 Straight.  That’s how many state championships the girls’ water polo team has won in a row.  It’s been an incredible season for them and it all came from hard work in the pool, day in and day out.

Saturday evening, the girls headed to West Lawn Pa. for a matchup with the Wilson Bulldogs.  It was a nail-biter to the finish, and in crunch time, it was the senior captain Claudia Thamm who came through in the clutch.  Thamm delivered on the game-tying goal with 1:49 left in the game.  Then, with the game tied at 4, Thamm hit a penalty shot from five meters out and the Knights would get the win, 5-4 over the Bulldogs.

“I knew it was a big deal but in my mind, I thought of it as just another shot that I have taken and made before.  It was a great feeling after I made that shot, although we won that game full heartedly as a team.  After I made the shot, there was still about ten seconds on the clock and we played great defense and Jane Montague had a great block and steal on the last offensive play by Wilson which ended the game.  We played and finished the game as a team and it was an amazing feeling,” Thamm reflected.

Even with four straight state titles before the season started, it wasn’t a for sure that this water polo season would be a successful one for the girls.  With the majority of starters from last year gone, the team, led by Head Coach Jason Grubb, would have a lot of work to put in this season.

“We lost a lot of girls (from) last year, this year’s starting group were mostly all new people.  That meant we definitely had to figure out how each other played and how we could all work together collectively first before we could figure out how to be great,” Thamm explained.

The major key to success this year for the girls was the sense of being more than a team and rather a family, as players would practice hard with each other while also spending their free time with each other which developed great team chemistry.

“This year we really worked on our connection and getting to know our teammates well.  Being familiar with each other’s skills was helpful to capitalize on certain plays in the water,” senior captain Haley Muth said.

With the season in the books, the water polo program will have to say bye to seven seniors.  They are Caitlyn Freece, Taylor Halteman, Katelyn Harkrader, Muth (captain), Olivia Pironti, Thamm (captain), and Madeleine Voss (captain).  For them, the North Penn water polo program has been an incredible experience.

“I’ve really grown through this program, not only as a player but also as a person.  I didn’t play water polo before high school so I learned a lot throughout my four years.  I’ve played with many different people throughout those four years and have experienced a ton.  We’ve managed to win states every year since I’ve been on the team, and whether I was sitting on the bench or in the water for that state championship game, it’s always felt the same.  It’s been amazing but what’s more amazing is the many different people I’ve gotten to share that feeling with.  And those friendships and mentorships are some that I will take through my whole life thanks to this sport,” Thamm said.

And for the underclassmen, they will be looking to continue what seems like a tradition at this point, as they will be on their journey for a sixth straight state title next fall.

“We had a lot of juniors and sophomores that contributed to the varsity games this season, and I think they are definitely capable of continuing our tradition of success next year,” Muth said.

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