- About Us
Kentwood to play in boys water polo invitational
Water polo is growing increasingly popular in the Kent School District.
In an effort to bring more attention to the sport, this weekend will feature the inaugural Kentridge Invitational from 2-6 p.m. Saturday at the Lindbergh Pool, explained the Chargers boys head coach Mike McKee.
“There’s going to be four teams,” McKee said. “We’re trying to bring a little bit more publicity to our sport. It’s a long term goal of mine to make this a varsity sport in the Kent School District.”
Kentwood’s boys team, which a year ago struck out on its own after combining with Kentridge for a time, along with squads from Wilson and Auburn will participate in the invitational.
A game that will look familiar to fans of a number of sports ranging from soccer to hockey to basketball has been played for more than a decade at Kentridge. It was important for Kentwood to split off again to form its own boys team because coaches from other schools in the South Puget Sound League which field teams — the sport is not officially sanctioned by the WIAA but is still popular in South King County — were concerned that if a multi-school Kent team continued to play it would end up as an all-star type of team of players from throughout the district.
Playing water polo is a bit tougher as a result. The teams are last in line for time at the pool with practices and games starting around 8 p.m., often on school nights.
The sport is also more expensive yet Kentwood’s team continues to grow. McKee said eventually athletes from the other Kent high schools will want to play and it will be necessary to garner more support from the community and the district to allow those students to participate. There are currently 40 athletes between the girls and boys teams at Kentwood and Kentridge playing water polo — boys play in the fall, the girls season is in the spring.
The game is played in four quarters which last seven minutes at the varsity level. There are six players plus a goal per side. Unlike soccer, basketball or hockey, there are no set positions. Each player is expected to play on offense and defense. Like hockey, if a player breaks a rule, fouls, then he can be pulled out and there is a situation similar to a power play also known as ‘man-up.’
This invitational, McKee said, is a critical part of growth for the sport in the Kent schools.
“By bringing publicity to it … we’ve increased both our team sizes, both schools, to a point where we believe that we’re just making it more legitimate,” McKee said. “The feeling is that we’re creating a strong case for consideration (for support from the district). It’s not going to happen overnight. We want to bring awareness and that there’s another high school sport. I’m going to fight for this for many years, I want to see the kids recognized because they’re loving it. As people see it, because we’re going to let the community come out and watch, we’re hoping they’ll support it.”