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Golden Eagles shoot to savor elusive SFL title

Del Oro water polo undefeated in league
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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The Del Oro girls water polo team may be small in numbers, but it’s fierce in the water. With only a dozen players rounding out the roster, the Golden Eagles have managed to capitalize on their talent, remaining undefeated in Sierra Foothill League play. “We don’t have very many girls, but we have a really strong bench,” said senior co-captain Ryllie Haynes. “Everyone has the talent.” That talent is spread among 3 seniors, 6 juniors and 3 freshmen. Most of the girls grew up swimming together for the Loomis Basin Dolphins. Junior Michal Andreatta said that may be one factor in the team’s success. “I think we have a lot of skill and we just know the game,” Andreatta said. “I think it’s because we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.” She also admits that while water polo can be brutal, the team conditions and trains to be strong in the water. The Golden Eagles condition for an hour on dry land before hitting the pool at each practice. “I think sometimes we instigate it,” Andreatta joked about the rough nature of water polo. Last year, the Golden Eagles took second in league to Granite Bay. They would have taken first if not for competing with an ineligible player. This year, Coach Lindi Callahan said the team is hoping to duplicate their success, without any controversy. Senior co-captain Hannah Jarvis sprained her neck earlier this year and has been watching eagerly from the bench. Even with one strong player out, the team has had little competition in league. Among those making some serious waves are senior co-captain Courtney Weddle. She earned all-tournament player, along with Andreatta and Hanes at the Sierra Shoot-Out Water Polo Tournament. The Golden Eagles went five for five at the shoot-out. While Weddle, Andreatta and Hanes were consistently top-scorers, goalkeeper Katelyn Thomson is a force on defense. Jarvis said she is eager to get back in the water with her teammates. “I think we just have really good control. It makes it hard for anybody to beat us. We do have a lot of speed,” Jarvis said. Junior Morgan Callahan earned most outstanding player merits at the Sierra Shoot-Out, along with Thompson. With the Del Oro pool being somewhat of a second home to her, Morgan took on the responsibility of leading the Junior Committee to replace the current dilapidated pool. While the six-lane pool is just enough to meet size regulations for water polo, the depth in the shallow-end keeps goalkeepers from being able to tread water the entire game. Morgan said pieces of the pool chip off, while repairs sometimes distract from practice. She hopes that through fundraising, future teams will have a new pool to practice in and host tournaments at. Whatever the community raises for the project, a local family, the Kamphefners, has pledged to match up to $1 million. “When it’s fixed we’ll be able to focus more on playing than on the pool itself,” Morgan said. “I want to see the younger kids get a better experience than we did.” While Morgan and other members of the team set about canvassing local schools with a Pennies for Pools campaign and other fundraisers, bringing a new championship banner back to Del Oro is still a top priority. Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.