Water polo branches out, CHS joins competition

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Along with the many other sports teams and clubs, our district is also offering water polo to students for the second year. The idea is taking off as multiple schools in Virginia Beach have joined together for some friendly competition each Saturday morning throughout the fall at various Virginia Beach Recreation Centers.

The sport was finally approved and recognized by Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) after several attempts to initiate teams. The underlying issue that VBCPS often questioned seemed to be mostly about the physicality of the sport and the safety of the players.

According to  an article in pilotonline.com, founder and coach Joshua Sill and his wife Julie are the administrators of the Virginia Beach High School Water Polo League. Both describe the aquatic team sport as part soccer, part field hockey and part basketball because everyone in the pool plays full court.

The water polo league this fall was split into three teams; CHS, Kellam, and Princess Anne High Schools. Players interested in joining were distributed into teams based off of their school’s conference affiliation. Apparently, there are leagues for guys and girls.  The teams practice together but games are played separately.

Financial Management teacher and water polo sponsor Mr. Ruddock stepped up to lead the Falcons this season, although he is learning as he goes.

”Water polo is an exciting sport to watch and it gets you in shape more than most sports out there. People should try to get out there to watch next year,” Ruddock said.

Although she has never played the sport before, junior Peyton Long was appointed as team captain. Long has scored two goals this season, one during her first game.

“Being appointed as a team captain wasn’t something I expected to happen for my first year playing, but it’s been very rewarding. Playing with friends and other teammates I have met this season brought me close to the game. I hope others are able to see how water polo is no joke and more people try out in upcoming seasons to help the program grow,” Long said.

There are girls and boys teams that compete against the other regions. However, since there aren’t many girls looking to play water polo this season, they join with other schools in the Beach, depending on who they are playing against each match.

“Deciding to try out for a sport I’ve never played was something I usually don’t do, but I’m glad I did. I didn’t expect much out of the season if I made it, but overall it has showed me how underestimated the sport is. The team has worked so hard to do well it’s first year that it’s been amazing to be a part of it,” junior Caroline Holland said.