Winners of the first heats of the boat race competed in the championship race. Photo by Samantha Erwin
Varsity boys water polo player took on the alumni team for a few laughs at the start of the season. Photo by Samantha Erwin
Before the play in the pool gets too serious, the AHS water polo teams started their season with their annual boat race, along with a game between the varsity boys team and AHS water polo alumni on Saturday, Aug. 17.
The athletes on the girls and boys varsity and junior varsity water polo teams raced homemade boats in the Atascadero High School pool. The overall winners of the race were the sophomore boys. A few hours after the boat race, alumni from the AHS water polo team returned to AHS to play a match against the varsity boys. The alumni won 19-8, showing that they still have what it takes to compete in the pool.
For the boat race, each team was required to build a boat that could be operated by a single captain and stay afloat for 50 yards. The boats were made out of cardboard, duct tape, and six kick-boards. The teams were organized by grade level, and athletes from each grade worked together to build their boats. Captaining the boat for the freshman girls was Lilly Moynagh, Morgan Jones for the freshman boys, Emma Hanson for the sophomore girls, Casey Jones for the sophomore boys, Makayla Power for the junior girls, Jayden Imoff for the junior boys, Maddie Howell for the senior girls, and Blake Power for the senior boys. The theme of the boat race was “Reggae,” chosen by the seniors. Some racers wore red, yellow, and green face paint, and others fixed their hair in cornrows to imitate the Reggae style.
The races took place in two separate heats, then the top two winners of each heat competed in the championship.The freshman through senior girls raced in the first heat, and the freshman through senior boys raced in the second heat. The freshman girls, junior girls, sophomore boys, and junior boys won in their heats, respectively, and moved on to the championship race. In the championship race, the sophomore boys came in first, freshman girls second, and the other two teams were disqualified because their boats sank and they were submerged. “The boat race is a fun activity we have every year to celebrate the end of Stress Week. Since Stress Week is such a challenging time, we want to have a chance for everybody to blow off steam. And it helps build camaraderie,” said varsity boys coach Jonathon Conrad.
Later that day, some AHS water polo alumni members came to play against the current varsity boys team. The girls' junior varsity coach Ali Marshall also played with the varsity boys. “The alumni game is something we haven't done in years, and I think it's very important to pay respects to the athletes that have come through the program before, and it allows the current athletes to play against some more experienced players,” said coach Conrad. Junior William Shoemaker said, “They were a lot more experienced than I thought. I thought they were going to be old men, and they were a lot bigger than I expected.” Senior Ethan Churchill also agreed by saying, “It was a lot of fun to play the alumni, and we saw moves that we didn't expect to see.” The final score was 19-8, with the alumni winning. “I thought the alumni game was very successful. We had a good number of alumni come out, and the fans got to watch some pretty fun and exciting water polo.” Conrad added.