The 2015 year will be a vigorous season in the Central California Conference for the local water polo boys' teams.
Turlock was a positive surprise in head coach Nick Serratos' first year and made the postseason, but was booted by St. Mary's of Stockton in the opening round. Pitman was 3-7 in the CCC and ultimately failed to produce wins in the second half of the year.
“I think we have built off last season and we had a much stronger team than before just didn't perform,” said Pitman head coach Ryan Bullard. “We were kind of shaking ourselves off from the way we performed the prior two years, but this season we have dusted off all of that.”
This year also marks the start of a new chapter for Turlock as they welcome back a familiar face in head coach Aaron Weis.
“Nick leaving opened up an opportunity for me of coming back home and helping out,” said Weis, who graduated from Turlock High in 1990.
Weis definitely has some shoes to be filled but he brings forth over 20 years of experience and is confident in what needs to be done.
“I remember Feaver as the coach and I was just trying to bring the team back to those standards and I just want to keep improving and be contenders every year,” said Weis. “One of our things is to have positive reinforcement on the team and constructive criticism.”
To help achieve the task at hand, there will be a handful of experienced players such as Cameron Dhanowa, Jakob Bradley, Trent Yandell, Jared Bernardi, Mykel Garton and Luke Reis.
“I have already seen that this team has been playing together a while so getting over that hump should be easier,” Weis said. “We just need to work together because I don't want any negative attitudes or negative vibes. That is part of the goal here. I have been on teams where negativity becomes cancerous.”
Set with strong returners and welcoming a JV team that finished 7-3 in the CCC last year, Pitman’s Coach Bullard has seniors Tanner Day, Josh Buck and Dominique Walls returning to anchor the Pride.
“Even though we have lost some key players, I think we are just continuing to build and filling those holes with guys that are just as good if not better,” said Bullard. “So luckily for us it’s showing some pretty good prospects.”
“There are about four incoming JV players that are very strong. We are hoping the juniors will step up and help build a strong and powerful start and we want to come out strong from the get-go,” said JV head coach and varsity assistant Toby Stonelake.
With a talented team and the three seniors on the roster, Bullard knows that expectations are set higher than they are lower.
“I think my biggest expectations are to build off last season because I really don't want to settle for third or fourth,” he added. “I want to finish in the top two of the CCC and I want to get back to Sections since we have not been there in years and I think it’s a great opportunity for us to go there again.”