The “Incredible” Women’s Water Polo Senior Day
by Amulya Aluru
Senior Day. A hallmark of high school sports and clubs celebrating the achievements of the graduating class and congratulating them for a season of dedication and hard work. Most athletes look forward to this day of recognition for years, hoping that their Senior Day will be bigger and better than past ones. For the graduating class of 2018, the women’s water polo team held their Senior Day on April 23, 2018, and chose the theme “The Incredibles” (a homage to the well-known movie) to highlight the incredible achievements of every senior. The entire team paid for shirts and onesies for each senior, and brought in various foods for a potluck. Traditionally, Senior Day is planned by the non-senior captains and the juniors on the team. Nina Robinson, Adv. 911, admitted to the Hoofbeat, “planning Senior Day was the single most stressful experience I’ve had as a water polo player and co-captain.” Still, the day turned out to be a success, and she was very proud of her team, especially because they were incredibly helpful in planning the entire thing. The seniors were overjoyed as well. Joanne Phan, Adv. 806, looked back on the day with a fond smile on her face and said, “the teamwork, energy, and pride that our girls had was unparalleled, and it was the best senior day I could have asked for.”
In addition to the festivities, there was a home game on the same day. The Mustangs faced Resurrection in this year’s Senior Day game, and won 12-2. As per tradition, the seniors all received ample playing time, as underclassmen cheered their role models from the bench. There were also friends and family in the stands, holding posters and supporting the players. The game started very well, with the Mustangs scoring multiple goals in a row. Abigail Corral, Adv. 803, played passionately and intensely in her final home game, assisting her teammates and adding to the Mustangs’ sweeping win against the Resurrection Bandits. Robinson recalled, “It was a good game and a lot of people who don’t normally score got a lot of shots in.” However, the Bandits played great defense against the Mustangs and displayed admirable sportsmanship.
The bond between the players could be seen clearly, as the entire team showed up to the game, even if they did not play. Reese Klemm, Adv. 907, agreed, “our team loves our seniors so much, and you can really tell through the decorations and the effort our girls [put in]. Northside definitely does the best Senior Days, so the countless hours spent cutting pictures and creating posters was worth it.”
After the game, the annual senior-day traditions commenced. Every year, for both swimming and water polo, the underclassmen line up across the pool deck with kickboards in their hands, forming a tunnel. The seniors run through the line individually, and are met with cheers and hugs at the end. This year, the six seniors of the women’s water polo team (Phan, Corral, Stephanie Brink, Adv. 803, Anneli Cers, Adv. 809, Alex Barnes, Adv. 806, and Abby Madulara) joined together and shared their favorite memories on the team with their parents and fellow water polo players. Madulara is a senior at Von Steuben Metropolitan High School, and plays for the Mustangs because Von does not have enough players to make a team, similar to the Jones-Payton team.
The celebrations were not over yet; a potluck was held after the game in the school cafeteria, featuring various food that players brought in. Donning their “Incredibles” onesies, the seniors lined up for food and exchanged tearful hugs with each other and the team. The season finished on a strong note and the seniors all appreciated the hard work and dedication of the entire team. Looking ahead to next year’s season and Senior Day, Robinson shared, “I am very excited for my senior season and what next year’s Senior Day brings.”