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Never satisfied | Prep boys water polo preview
A year after finishing runner-up to Bellevue in the state championship game, boys water polo coach Andrew Smith-Jones is anxious for his team to pick up where they left off.
“I’m at the point where the season just needs to start,” said the first-year coach, who also coaches girls water polo and is taking the helm after serving as an assistant coach last year. “I’m excited to see where we are to start the season, because I know we’re going to start the season better than we finished last year. On top of that, I’m super excited to get started because after talking with the boys, the kids are super excited [for the season to start]. It’s time to get after it and see what we have.”
There’s much to be excited about, with holdovers from last year’s squad including all four captains: Jack Larkin, Anthony Pedreira, Trevor Gullstad and Topher Lacrampe. All four earned All-State honors during last year’s state tournament, which saw an Islander rally fall a mere three goals short in the title game.
Smith-Jones said he plans to rely on depth and experience to help carry the team. “Realistically, I see that we have twelve solid players that can kind of go interchangeably. We have a little bit of depth this year that other schools don’t necessarily have, and it’s my goal to utilize that depth as best as possible and show that we have more than six or seven or eight guys that can [contribute]; we have fourteen or fifteen guys that can contribute at any moment.”
As the Islanders try to find their way back to the state tournament, Smith-Jones will work toward keeping his team hungry throughout the season, building toward playing its best possible water polo at the right time.
“We’re going to continue to progress and not peak too early. We’re never going to be satisfied for anything.”