ROAD TO ROYALTY HIGHLANDERS AIM FOR FIRST LEAGUE TITLE.Byline: Heather Gripp Staff Writer
SIMI VALLEY Simi Valley (sē`mē, sĭm`ē), city (1990 pop. 100,217), Ventura co., SW Calif. in an oil, fruit, and farm region; laid out 1887, inc. 1969. - Katie Harding admits when she decided to become a water polo water polo, swimming game encompassing features of soccer, football, basketball, and hockey. The object of the game is to maneuver, by head, feet, or hand, a leather-covered ball 27 to 28 in. player she couldn't even identify the type of ball used for the sport. Teammate Melissa Dicato couldn't swim.
The two are characteristic of the type of players joining the Royal High of Simi Valley girls' water polo team three years ago.
Suffice to say, they were far from being a group that appeared headed toward becoming one of the area's most successful in the sport. But that is what Royal grew up to be.
The team anchored by four seniors who stuck with the program since they were freshmen is ranked No. 2 in Southern Section Div. II and can clinch Clinch, river, c.300 mi (480 km) long, formed by the junction of two forks in SW Va., and flowing generally SW across E Tenn. to the Tennessee River at Kingston. its first league title today when the Highlanders face five-time defending Marmonte League The Marmonte League is a high school sports league primarily made up of schools from Ventura County. The Marmonte Leauge is part of the CIF Southern Section. Click here to view the league schedule. champion Agoura at Rancho Simi Rancho San José de Nuestra Senora de Altagarcia y Simi is one of the land grants in California by the Spanish government. The name derives from Shimiji, the name of the Chumash village here before the Spanish. Park.
``They've come a long way,'' Royal coach Devin Hurst said.
Royal is undefeated in league and has defeated Agoura twice this season.
At a school long known as a boys' water polo powerhouse, the girls are enjoying the chance to take top billing. Seniors Christine Cruz, Sharleanna Richardson, Dicato and Harding can take particular satisfaction in the Highlanders' success, having endured a long road to the top.
The four have been varsity regulars since they were sophomores. Their first experience with water polo was their freshmen year on the frosh/soph team. Dicato had a vague idea of the sport thanks to a relative who played, so she convinced some friends to join her in trying the game that was only a few years old as a Southern Section sport for girls.
``I had no idea what I was doing,'' said Harding, a former swimmer who was looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. a change of sports. ``It's amazing a·maze
v. a·mazed, a·maz·ing, a·maz·es
1. To affect with great wonder; astonish. See Synonyms at surprise.
2. Obsolete To bewilder; perplex.
v.intr. how much we improved because in freshmen year, we were terrible.''
Hurst, who took over the program during the foursome's freshmen year, saw things differently.
He envisioned the potential for a gradual building process with an enthusiastic young group that would have years to grow into what he now describes as a unit that reads each other extremely well.
``It was a base to start with that you could build around,'' Hurst said. ``And with (junior goalkeeper) Brandy Creek coming along last year, that filled another big piece. Everything, all the pieces just came together.''
Cruz is the team's leading scorer, with Dicato and Harding close behind. Richardson and Harding are top defensive players.
``Every year we just get better,'' Harding said. ``Devin has always had a lot of confidence in us. We were clueless clue·less
Lacking understanding or knowledge.
Slang helpless or stupid
Adj. 1. , but he saw a lot in us. I know Devin has always believed in us.''
The Highlanders' mutual belief in Hurst fuels them through intense year-round training that includes running the track at 5 a.m.
Royal reached the Southern Section semifinals last season before losing to eventual champion Santa Barbara Santa Barbara (săn'tə bär`brə, –bərə), city (1990 pop. 85,571), seat of Santa Barbara co., S Calif., on the Pacific Ocean; inc. 1850. . The Highlanders would love a chance to face top-ranked Santa Barbara again this year for the title.
But first, there is the matter of wrapping up another title. Even if Royal loses today, it could claim a share of the league title, but a victory would make it the Highlanders' own.
``Oh my gosh, I get goose bumps goose bumps or goose pimples: see gooseflesh. just thinking about it,'' Dicato said. ``If we win it, it'd be so awesome. All the hard work we've put in, it'd be worth it.''
Heather Gripp, (818)713-3607
Key seniors on Royal's girls' water polo team: (rear, from left) Chloe Hefner, Katie Harding and Christine Cruz; (front, from left) Melissa Dicato and Sharleanna Richardson.
Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer