Cal Condors Clinch CIF
On Saturday, the Cal men’s waterpolo team saw all their hard work go to good as they went into the finals for the CIF Division 5 Championship.
“[CIF] was our goal since the beginning,” says men’s waterpolo coach David Brown (or, as his team dubs him, Davey). Last Wednesday, this dream became a reality when the Condors won the the CIF semi-finals against Beaumont. Cal, according to former coach Jeff Boline, “shut down Beaumont” with a fierce spirit and impressive offense. Player JD Gonzales (11) said “they played good but we were better.” Cal came out on top with a score of 9-7, making history in the process. On Saturday Cal showed up ready to win in Irvine against Brentwood Prep. “It was an inconceivable dream to win CIF,” recalls left-wing player Diego Jasis (12), “but we wanted it.” Goalkeeper Adan de la Loza said, “We were in this mindset to win. It was a lot of mental prepping.” Once the pool was set up and sprinters ready to go, the game started. “It was nerve-wracking,” set player Christopher Tokarse (12) said. “Very intense.”
The boys came to Irvine with “high hopes”, says Emiliano “Nano” Jasis (9). “The only real threat,” Tokarse noted, “was Brentwood’s number 10.” Gonzales added, “10 was their best player. He took all the shots.” At halftime, Brentwood and Cal were neck and neck, with nerves on both sides shooting through the roof. “We were trying to feel them out,” said Diego Jasis, “we were tied through third quarter.” de la Loza added, “It was a crazy [game]. We were going back and forth, and then… Jesus [Padilla] scored, and we were winning. And we won.” Nano Jasis was the last to hold the ball as the seconds counted down. “It took me a while. It felt surreal. Everyone was screaming.” Gonzales crowed, “we were all counting down to ten, and then the clock froze, but it didn’t matter cause we won and Davey jumped in with us in the pool.” Gonzales paused, reliving the win. “It was awesome.”
The boys won, 10-9. Nano would get two goals in, and de la Loza ended with 14 saves. Suddenly, after weeks of hard work, they had done the impossible. For the first time ever, a Cal waterpolo team won CIF.
Into the Future
“I’m very proud of my boys,” said Brown. “We’re going into State Championships for the very first time.” The Condors are scheduled to play against Cleveland High School on Friday. For now, however, the boys are living on their history-making win. “We’ll get a banner, some plaques, patches, and rings,” Tokarse says. For de la Loza and Diego Jasis, the win means more for their future. They were recently named winners of the Outstanding Academic All-American Award, an achievement given by USA Waterpolo. de la Loza is currently being scouted by universities, and Jasis aims to continue playing polo in college. “It’s an honor, really,” Diego Jasis said of his award. As for their coach, he is very excited. “I can’t wait to see where this win takes us,” Brown said, smiling.
While they have won CIF, the season is not yet over for the Cal Condors. State tournaments start soon. “Tomorrow we start business again,” said de la Loza.
Go Cal Go!
Photo Credits: Danny Gonzales 2018