The El Dorado High boys and girls water polo teams wrapped up successful 2010 campaigns with a combined 23 wins, one historic playoff berth and numerous all league awards including Coach of the Year.
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Both teams finished second in the Metro Conference behind McClatchy. The girls were 14-6, 6-2 in league, to earn their first postseason trip, while the boys battled to a .500 record at 9-9, 5-3 in the Metro, and missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker.
“The future is very bright for the El Dorado water polo program,” Cougar coach Marc Hughes said. “Our program has grown so much in just my first two years. We now have almost 60 kids playing water polo for us. The excitement for the program gets stronger every day. Next year promises to be even better.”
Though the El Dorado girls dropped their opening round playoff match, the team’s success, despite three losses by a mere point, garnered Hughes the Metro Conference Coach of the Year award. Four Lady Cougars were all league: Junior Leah Headd and sophomores Ellen Tiedemann, Maddie Zuber and Shelby Ganzert.
“Being named Coach of the Year by the other coaches in the league was quite humbling. Some of the top women’s coaches coach in this league and for them to recognize me as the top coach was awesome. I am truly thankful and owe it to my girls’ hard work and dedication,” Hughes said. “This was an unbelievable season for us.
“When I left Oak Ridge to come here and take over this program last year, my first goal was to put this program on the map to make everyone take notice that we are contenders. These girls helped me accomplish that goal in a hurry. Without a doubt we are a force to be reckoned with now. We are young and we are good — I mean really good.”
The boys lost a tiebreaker with River City and didn’t make the playoffs. Juniors Will Meigs and Evan Phifer were all league selections as was sophomore Karl Unverferth.
“The boys struggled to start the season as we graduated our leaders from last year. It took us awhile to find our identity. But once we did, we were basically unstoppable,” Hughes said. “Like the girls, we are a very young team. We started three sophomores and a freshman. As the season progressed, the boys began to overcome a lot of the inexperienced mistakes we were making. In addition to our all league players, we were led by freshman Max Foster who I believe without a doubt, was the top freshman in our league this year.”