States sweep for boys and girls water polo

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North Penn Aquatics/Submitted Photo

North Penn Water Polo boys and girls celebrating their states titles.

Last year, the boys’ and girls’ water polo teams got thrown in the deep end. Following a delayed start to the season and practices being held at Whites Road Pool, each team faced a devastating defeat, as they both fell just one goal short of becoming league champions, the state tournament being canceled altogether due to Covid. Instead of drowning in their sorrows, each team resurfaced to the top of the water, both claiming a state championship in 2021.

During the water polo states tournament this year, the girls’ team beat Wilson High School at Wilson, winning by 3 goals with a final score of 7-4. Exactly one week later, the boys beat La Salle College High School at their home pool, winning the title game 7-6.

“No one likes getting second. Definitely going into this season we had that goal in mind the entire year,” junior Aidan Faikish said.

Senior goalie Luna Hutchinson went on to say, ¨I know a lot of us were going into this season like we want to win states and our coach was like that too. It’s a really good feeling knowing that we actually achieved our goal from the beginning of the year.¨

The girls and the boys, we are a solid team. There are players that can overtake a game, but compared to other teams, I think we are really well balanced, and I think that’s the strength of our program. It was a good, motivating thing to have a state championship back, knowing that we got to play all those teams last year.”

— Water Polo Head Coach Jason Grubb

The North Penn Water Polo program has a history of successful seasons, a lot resulting in state championships. Before last year, the girls’ team was on a six consecutive winning streak, totaling 13 state championship titles, and the boys are not too far behind with a total of 8 titles. Those numbers once again rise due to this year’s teams.

¨The girls and the boys, we are a solid team. There are players that can overtake a game, but compared to other teams, I think we are really well balanced, and I think that’s the strength of our program,¨ head coach of both teams, Jason Grubb stated, ¨It was a good motivating thing to have a state championship back, knowing that we got to play all those teams last year.¨

Every year all the water polo coaches in Pennsylvania get together to make All-State teams to recognize the players who stand out in the pool. After the final states game, the teams were announced. Between the boys and the girls, 11 Knights fought for and earned a spot on an All-State team.

Receiving the first award for the boys was junior Nathan Rawa, who received an Honorable Mention. Junior Andrew Davis got a spot on the Third Team All-State. The Knights who made the Second Team All-State were senior captain Tim Schwar and junior Aidan Faikish. Senior captain Bobby Freece and junior goalie Danny Dunigan were named to First Team All-State.

Definitely ending the season with an award like that just shows all the hard work we all put in, and just being acknowledged by the whole state for being one of the best players is just really a great feeling.”

— Senior Captain Bobby Freece

“Definitely ending the season with an award like that just shows all the hard work we all put in, and just being acknowledged by the whole state for being one of the best players is just really a great feeling,” Freece said.

Dunigan later added, “It was good to be recognized as one of the top players in the state. It just really boosted the morale of the team after winning states, so it was just a great night for the North Penn Knights.”

Next up for the girls All-State teams, earning Honorable Mention was senior captain Ava Zollars. Making their way onto the Second Team All-State was senior goalie Luna Hutchinson and junior Brenna Mancini. Lastly, earning spots on the First Team All-State team were senior captain Paige Mitchell and junior Anna Evans.

¨I’ve played in my sophomore, junior, and now my senior year, and this year was definitely the best feeling because I played in all the games and actually made an impact in the games,¨ Mitchell stated.

These two state title wins came at a time when boys and girls water polo needed it the most. Giving the Knights a familiar taste of victory already has them eager for what’s to come next season.

¨It’s huge. We get asked this question all the time: ‘Do you ever get tired of winning?’ No, never,¨ Grubb emphasized.