Girls water polo rises up the ranks

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Coco Tsaur

STOKED WHILE SOAKED: Head Coach Kyle Kim-E and Assistant Coach Is- abelle Comtois review the team’s playbook during a routine water break.

Rachel Gima, Staff Writer

The Northwood Girls Varsity Water Polo has earned its place in Division 3, following two increasingly successful seasons, as their sudden rise to stardom has caught the attention of high school sports.

The Northwood Girls Water Polo team was in Division 5 two years ago, qualifying for the CIF-Southern Section (CIF-SS) for the first time in seven years, finishing their season with a stellar 21-9 overall record. As a result of their accomplishments, they progressed to Division 4 the following the 2019-20 season, finished with a 20-10 record, and were crowned the Girls Water Polo League Championship for the first time in Northwood’s history. These successes resulted in their eventual progression into Division 3.

“We’re all hardworking and determined to play our best,” varsity right wing sophomore Ella-Blue Wilmot said. “We all push each other to be better players and I’m really excited for another season with my teammates.”

The season is scheduled to start late December, with league games beginning in January. In the meantime, the team is preparing to compete together again.

“It’s definitely going to be harder playing in Division 3; Our competition is going to be so much more difficult,” varsity goalie junior Sanjana Venkatesh said. “I’m excited to play in a higher division because it’s a new challenge, especially since we were Division 5 my freshman year, so it shows how much our team has progressed.”

The CIF-SS assigns teams “power rankings,” placing teams with similar power rankings into one of seven divisions. Each year, the division of a team is determined by the team’s performance average —influenced by factors such as a team’s win/ loss record and schedule strength— from the previous two years. This measure is a predictor of success for this year, providing hope for many of this year’s athletes, both new and returning.

“Last year, we were a young team, but we have built a lot of chemistry which allows us to be successful,” Venkatesh said. “Our coach also contributed to our success last year because he had a lot of faith in us and led our team in the right direction.”

The team is currently holding socially-distanced practices to prepare for the upcoming season, which will officially begin as early as January 2021.

“We’re nervous about playing in Division 3, and we hope it won’t really affect the outcome of wins and loses very much, but we’re also excited about it,” Wilmost said. “When we play, we play for each other, and that’s what makes us so strong.”