(COURTESY / SHANNON YOUNG)
Girls varsity water polo athlete Shannon Young has broken the record for varsity career goals previously held by Madeline Stephenson.
On September 22, Young scored goal number 210 to put her in the lead for varsity career goals.
Young is a versatile player finding herself in positions all over the pool. Her ability to play driver, wing, two meter defense and be an overall utility athlete set Young up nicely to break the school record.
Young appreciates her teammates support and credits her ability to develop as a player to them.
“Ever since I was a freshman, because I played as a freshman on varsity, a lot of the upperclassmen helped me grow,” Young said. “And as they graduated my teammates that are more my grade have definitely pushed me to try harder and help other people to learn too.”
As a captain, Young sees it as her responsibility to set an example for the rest of her team in and out of the pool.
Young hopes that by breaking the record she will be able to set this precedent and tone for her water polo team.
“I don’t see breaking the record as inspiring them, but I hope that by breaking the record they do watch me a little more and see how much effort I put into it,” Young said. “And I hope they take that and run with it and hopefully strive to do the same thing.”
Teammate, and junior water polo player, Alexia Garcia recognizes the teams supportive strategy they had in place in order to help Young break the record.
“We’ve all been working together a lot more just to improve our team trust,” Garcia said. “And getting the ball towards Shannon and working it up and down the field so that she can get the ball to shoot.”
Garcia believes that by breaking the record, it will motivate Young to elevate her game even more.
“Now that she’s broke that record Shannon will probably work even harder to push the record,” Garcia said. “She has her own goals and the season isn’t over yet so she’ll just keep growing to become a better player and teammate.”
Girls varsity water polo coach Paul Stewart immediately noticed Young’s raw talent in the pool starting her freshman season.
“Her freshman year when she got in the pool I could tell she was a player,” Stewart said. “She threw that ball so hard. She was able to swim up and down the pool. She just understood probably from soccer and probably watching her brother play you know that she could do this.”
Stewart realizes that Young is willing to take the time to benefit not only her personal game, but improve upon the team’s overall game.
“It’s just neat to see that she’s now taken a leadership role,” Stewart said. “She could probably score more this year but she’s also feeding it to other people making sure the team is winning instead of her just getting her stats.”
According to Stewart, throughout the years water polo has become more popular and evolved into a more competitive sport since Madeline’s 2002-2003 record breaking season.
With players coming into high school with a stronger knowledge of the sport and more experienced backgrounds, Stewart believes it has made it harder for individual athletes to excel at this sport.
“Back in the day you only needed one super good player in water polo.With Maddie Stephenson everybody would throw her the ball and she could score 100 goals in a year,” Stewart said. “I could go to playoffs with one good player. Now I’ve got multiple good players and we’re not even really that close. You need six girls playing year round.”
Recognizing Young’s hard work, Stewart is confident that the new varsity career goal record will be hard to beat.
“It’s neat to see that over four years she’s put this together and now broken a record with still about eight games left she might push it that it’s really hard to reach for a long time,” Stewart said. “So her name might be up on the board for awhile.”