SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE
BOYS WATER POLO ALL-AREA
Player of the Year: KYLE GARWICK, Damien, Sr.
After graduating several scorers and moving up a division, the Damien High School boys water polo team appeared destined to struggle.
But with senior goalkeeper Kyle Garwick in charge, it was not the case.
Garwick, a two-time CIF-Southern Section first-team selection and All-American pick for the second year in a row, not only steered Damien to an undefeated run to take the Sierra League title but also helped the Spartans reach the Division 2 semifinals before losing to top-seeded Agoura, 8-6.
Garwick, who had close to 100 saves and was named Sierra League most valuable player, also was named The Tribune’s 2012 boys water polo player of the year.
“We went into the season not knowing how things would be this year because we lost four of our leading scorers and were moving up a division,” Garwick said. “We had to modify our strategy and we did. We improved defensively by allowing an average of five to six goals instead of the eight or nine (per game) we allowed a year earlier.
“All in all, reaching the semifinals was probably beyond our expectations when the year began.”
Garwick likely is headed to UC Santa Barbara, but hasn’t
made his final decision.
STEPHEN OSTERBERG, Damien, Sr.: Was selected to the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 first team and named to the Sierra League first team after helping the Spartans go undefeated in league and finish 21-10 overall. The 6-foot, 195-pound driver/utility was a big part of the goal-scoring success for the area’s best team.
MATT MAIER, Damien, Fr.: Was the only freshman named to the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 first team and also the Sierra League first team. The two-meter man quickly introduced himself to area water polo fans by scoring in the first 25 seconds against Bonita in helping lead the Spartans to an 18-5 win and the Orange Crate Trophy.
JUSTIN CONTRERAS, Los Altos, So.: The sophomore helped the Conquerors finish in a tie for first place in the Hacienda League and advance to the Division 5 quarterfinals, where they eventually lost to finalist Glendale. Conteraras shared the league’s most valuable player award and was selected to the CIF-SS Division 5 first team.
SCOTT MCDILL, Walnut, So.: Helped the Mustangs share the Hacienda League title with Los Altos and advance to the Division 5 quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Pasadena Poly. McDill was named the league’s co-player of the year and was selected to the CIF-SS Division 5 first team.
ANTHONY RAMIREZ, Nogales, Sr.: The 5-foot-11 2-meter player shared the Valle Vista League most valuable player award after helping the Nobles finish undefeated in league. The defending Division 6 champions lost in the first round of the 2012 playoffs, but Ramirez still was selected to the Division 6 second team.
EUGENE LEE, Wilson, Sr.: The Wildcats’ leading scorer was named Valle Vista League co-most valuable player and helped his team to a second-place league finish behind powerful Nogales. Lee was named to the Valle Vista all-league team for a third consecutive season.
Coach of the Year: GRANT MILLER, Damien
The former Spartans standout and now coach led his team to the CIF-Southern Section semifinals for a second consecutive year as well as an unbeaten run to a Sierra League title. Miller led the Bearcats to the Division 3 finals in 2011 and, after moving up a division, guided them to the powerful Division 2 semifinals in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year.
Trevor Adkins, Damien, Sr.
Steven Cagle, Claremont, So.
Marco Garcia, Nogales, Sr.
George Millard, Los Altos, So.
Jacob Lepp, Walnut, Jr.
Matthew Perez, Los Altos, So.
Stephen Warnick, Damien, Sr.
Chuckie Ortega, Charter Oak, Sr.
Ryan Mercado, Bonita, Sr.
Alex Phillips, Rowland, Sr.
Patrick Phommachanh, Nogales, Jr.
Justin Cruz, Wilson, Sr.