The Pitman Pride varsity boys’ water polo squad has begun a new year with a new head , but he is also a familiar face in the area.
Former Turlock Bulldog Colin Wenstrand has accepted the head coaching duties for the Pride varsity boys’ water polo team.
“I am back teaching at Pitman and it was just coincidence that the coaching spot became vacant when I arrived and I applied and I knew I had a solid resume and was fortunate to get the job,” said Wenstrand.
Wenstrand, who is a 1991 graduate from Turlock High, was part of the only Bulldog boys’ polo Section title that came in the fall of 1990.
“I played for [Steve] Feaver and we remain, and you can print this since my buddies will appreciate this, we remain the only team to win Sections,” said Wenstrand. “So lots of league champions but just one Section title and that is cool. We have to mention it when we can.”
Playing as the goalkeeper in a deep team for the Bulldogs in 1990, Wenstrand was talented enough to earn a scholarship to play polo at the University of Pacific.
He was also competing with the junior national team.
“I spent two and a half to three years training with the junior national teams before I got cut in 1993 before the world’s tournament,” said Wenstrand. “That was when I realized the national team was not in my future, but by then I was already planning to become a school teacher and coach.”
The first coaching gig for Wenstrand was as a volunteerassistant in the fall of 1995.
“I was also the goalie coach just as a volunteer and Ryan Bullard, who coached here before me, was on that team as a senior, so small world stuff going on there,” said Wenstrand.
Before settling in Pleasanton and starting his family, Wenstrand and his wife, also a teacher, decided to take their skills to another country—the Dominican Republic.
“Me and my wife came back to start our family in the fall of 2001 and I started to coach and teach at Amador Valley,” said Wenstrand.
Wenstrand went on to start the polo program at the school.
“I volunteered since Amador didn't have it and I was a one man show, which I wouldn't recommend to anybody,” said Wenstrand. “I ran a local club and coached in the area and my goal was to be in charge of the water polo managing of the area.”
After a dozen years, Wenstrand once again decided to teach internationally with his wife, but this time in Bogota, Colombia.
“It was really cool out there in Bogota,” said Wenstrand. “But we decided to move and just got back like six weeks ago and my wife is teaching at Wakefield and I am psyched to be back because it’s a town I care for deep down and I believe Feaver created an amazing tradition for the community.”
Wenstrand takes over a team that finished dead last in the CCC just a season ago at 1-9.
“Success in my opinion will not be with wins and losses,” he said. “Success is getting the kids to buy into what I call a process. Process trumps the outcome. If you get together a proper process then the outcome will work itself out.”
Wenstrand strongly expresses his passion for the sport and in assisting the youth through his teachings that he learned from Feaver.
“When I was at Pleasanton, nobody knows of Coach Feaver, but when you say it here, everyone knows. He had big influences, but the biggest thing is about the kids,” said Wenstrand. “I love the sport and I had a blast with it and I want to share that with the kids.”
Coming into the year, the Pride will rely heavily on Josh Hamby, Caden Jarvis, Bryce Arnold and Ryan and Dylan Canisso.
“These guys should lead the team, and at least the attitude is at the right spot,” said Wenstrand. “It’s always fun to come back and coach a team that plays in a league that I have history with and I care about and I am ecstatic to be able to participate in this region and sport. I am honored that I am worthy to coach polo for a school and community that has such a rich tradition.”
The first game for the boys will be a scrimmage with Buhach Colony at a time yet to be announced Sept. 25.