The men’s water polo team is showing improvement from last year thanks to leadership and young talent
By Truman Stovall
The men’s water polo team at DHS believes it is more capable of competing against top teams this year than last, and much of it has to do with new players and leadership.
Last year’s team was talented, but some key players were seniors. It’s hard in many sports to replace a solid senior class, but current senior Alex Janosi believes the team “definitely made up the talent that was lost.”
Janosi, along with Ben Daugherty and Kevin Kimmel, are captains who have all been with the team since their freshman years. Along with a new assistant coach, Steven Sobczak, the team’s leadership has started to focus more on improvement this year.
“A key part is having a better mindset,” Janosi said. “Last year, thinking we were great got in our heads.”
As a result, the team lost many games against top teams by large margins. This year, these types of games have been much more competitive.
A big game against Skyline was lost only in a penalty shootout, and the team was able to take down Pioneer in a tournament during an early-season tournament. It’s predicted that the district could be won by anybody this year, but Dexter is now in the conversation.
A big boost to the team has been new players, including senior Randy Gesell and the Sterlitz brothers, who transferred from California.
The transition was difficult for Gesell, who had “never even watched a water polo game” before joining the team.
“The first practice was really hard,” he said. “Swimming is too tiring, so I mostly play goalie. Sobczak is keeping us in shape though.”
He’s improving every day, though, and he might be able to help his team by playing outside of the goalie net later in the season.
Freshman Mitchell Sterlitz originally joined to “have fun and meet people” despite never having played water polo either. He doesn’t regret it, adding he “has fun just playing against other teams and winning.”