Upper Perk goalie Micky Winkler deflects a shot on goal after the ball got past Marielle Kuhns, at left, in last Thurday's match against Perk Valley at home.
Upper Perk girls and boys water polo is having the most successful season in recent years.
The girls team was recently named Division III winners of the Beast of the East water polo tournament, the biggest tournament on the East Coast, which involves teams from four different states. The girls won Division IV last year, which means they moved up to a higher level of competition this year and still defended their winning ways.
“Both the girls and the boys team have come very far from how they played last season,” said assistant Coach Kayla Oelschlager, a former water polo player. “They’ve been improving as individuals and as a team, learning to play great defense.”
Saturday, both teams played in a tournament at Central York High School against teams from Central York, Wyoming Valley West and Mechanicsburg. The girls beat all three teams, and the boys suffered a close loss to Wyoming Valley West but won their other two games.
Last Thursday was Senior Night, where they played against their rival team Perk Valley. The final score of the girls’ game was 6-2 Upper Perk, sending them to conferences playoffs where they will play Hazelton for a position in states. The boys’ game ended with Perk Valley getting 13-8 win. The Tribe’s Kendrick Bowman and Grant Kress were the top scorers.
Upper Perk has to say goodbye to six senior players next year, three from the boys and three from the girls. Captains Krysta Rehrig, Christina Williams, Becca Rose, Grant Kress, Alex Rozwadowski and Kendrick Bowman will all be graduating this year.
“Water polo has always been one of the highlights of my years in high school,” Rose said. “I know I get to learn new things every day from an incredible coach and spend time with great people.”
Losing six players, all of whom are starters, is going to have a big effect on next year’s team.
“Next year will be tough without them,” sophomore Tyler Reed said.
The polo teams go into the rest of their season with high hopes and proud of what they’ve already accomplished.
“I think it’s always a good thing when you can say your best friends are also your teammates, and that’s definitely the case with water polo,” Rose said. “I have no doubt that that’s what helps us succeed.”