I'm not sure that I can agree with you rjones. Both X and St. Charles have significantly higher numbers of participants in their programs. That is especially important in high school water polo because most have never played before high school. It takes a couple of years just to develop the basic skills. That's why coaching is so very important. Teaching the skills and the strategy are essential. Having consistently high participation numbers in the program is critical. St. Charles typically has 35 to 40 players and X generally has 50 to 60. That is why year in and year out X and St. Charles are favored to win the championship. This year is no exception. Although St. Charles appears to have lost a lot of players from last years championship team, they return the top goalie in the state and more quality depth than any other team. Their JV team won the state last year for the third year in a row. I think its hard to bet against them to repeat this year. I agree that JJ Spangler has developed into a fine coach, but tops in the state??? Not sure about that so long as Geoff Gear continues to coach. He combines knowledge of the game, mastery of the skills with a superb temperament and skill to interact with high school aged boys. His record is second to none - 8 state titles with 3 different programs. In the 12 years he's coached St. Charles he has 5 state championships and 2 runner up finishes. Those have come in the last 9 years. The numbers are especially impressive since he started from scratch at St. Charles. The club team before he took over had no legitimate coaching and existed primarily for swimmers to work out together in the fall. 3 years of mediocre finishes is not astonishing when building a program. Since then St. Charles is consistently the best or one of the best teams in the state and competes well with the schools in Michigan where water polo is a more established sport. So long as Gear stays at St. Charles expect them to contend for the title each year.
I agree with thedutchman, X and SC are the powers in Ohio. I pick SC to repeat (the Gear factor is hard to overcome). We should get an idea after SC & X play in an early tournament at Rockford, Michigan. The field includes always powerful Rockford and the defending Michigan state champ Hudsonville. If SC & X perform well in that group, expect them to be the finalists for the state crown in Ohio.
That's an interesting question, Wahoo. Canton Glen Oak had a team until a few years ago, but they were the only Northeast Ohio team. I had heard a year or so ago that St. Ignatius was starting a team. Nothing seems to have come of that. I suppose its a matter of interest and access to facilities. Apparently there just has not been the interest. It takes a lot of effort to start a team. That becomes all the harder when there are not other teams in the area. In reality until Ohio schools commit to building the pools necessary growth in high school water polo will be limited. I suggest that it's not a coincidence that water polo has grown dramatically in Michigan as more deep water pools were built at Michigan high schools. The same would happen in Ohio. At present the only schools with deep water pools I'm aware of are Mason, X, and Princeton. UA will have one when its new high school opens.
Nice opening week end. Not sure how much we learned about the top teams. SC sent its B varsity. Not sure if X had its top team there. UA's freshman looked pretty good. SC couldn't swim with them, but X could. This weekend in Rockford should give an idea of how X and SC match up. Both will definitely play their A squads. UA will be competitive, but don't think they can beat X or SC. Sorry rjones...I don't think they will dominate this year. Future does look promising.
Interesting weekend in Rockford. St. Charles won its group but lost to the winners of the other groups - Dexter and Hudsonville. Dexter topped SC by a single goal, but Hudsonville (the defending Michigan state champions) beat the Cards 5-15. Hudsonville game was competitive until the last 3 or 4 minutes when Hudsonville scored 6 or 7 unanswered goals. Meanwhile St. X finished 2-2 on the weekend. They were second in their group beating Okemos 10-4, but losing to Hudsonville 10-4. They beat West Ottawa on Saturday, but lost to Rockford.