Seniors lead water polo winners

The Sweet Home water polo team this year went from zero to the state playoffs, which, Coach Craig Martin told the crowd at the team’s awards dessert Thursday, made it a successful season.

“Our number one goal was not going to be what the score was every time,” Martin said. “Our number one goal was to re-establish the program.”

“It was a tough season in a very tough league,” he said, noting that the Huskies were the only 4A-level team in a conference that included both the girls and boys defending state champions. “We had our work cut out for us from the get-go.”

But, he said, the Huskies “did very well as a team” despite starting with only four of their 17 athletes having any prior experience in water polo.

The Huskies “rolled into the season, gathering athletes along the way,” largely by word of mouth, he said. The girls finished 6-10, including making the second round of the state playoffs, and the boys, who played deep teams with no substitutes for much of the season, finished 2-13.

“Now we’re respected again in state water polo,” Martin said.

He noted that six Huskies, Sebas Mauer and Cory Martin for the boys, Laura Gourley, Katie Kinney, Sami Webb and goalie Cheryl Wilson for the girls were selected to the all-league team.

During the awards ceremony, Mauer was named Oustanding Upperclassman for the boys and Gourley for the girls.

Cory Martin was named Outstanding Underclassman for the boys and Webb for the girls.

The Attack award, for the best defensive player, went to Derek Jaques for the boys and Norajean Lemar for the girls, who, Martin said, was one of the best defenders in the league.

Most Improved athlete for the boys was Alex Stupin, while Katie Turner was named Most Improved for the girls.

Third-year letters were awarded to co-captains Gourley and Kinney and Norajean Lemar. First-year letters were awarded to girls team members Sylvia Milburn, Rachel Maudlin, Cheryl Wilson, Katie Turner, Niccole Simmonds and Sami Webb.

First-year letters went to boys team members Eric Holmes, Donny O’Brien, goalie Brandon Courteau, Jaques (who also played deep-water goalie during the latter part of the season), Cory Martin, Stupin and Mauer.