Buena Park Boys’ Water Polo starts with the basics and builds something special – the Orange County Register

The CIF Southern Section boys’ water polo rankings have the usual suspects.

JSerra, a CIF-SS Open Division playoff team last year, is No. 1 in Division 1, and 2021 Open Division semifinalist Mater Dei is No. 2. Last year’s Open Division champion, Newport Harbor is number 3 in Division 1.

San Clemente tops the top 10 in Division 2. Irvine, a Division 2 playoff team last season, is ranked No. 1 in Division 3. Crean Lutheran, last year’s Division 6 champion, is ranked No. 1 in the division 4

Division 5’s No. 1 is an outlier: Buena Park. The Coyotes were 9-17 last season and finished last in the Freeway League. This season, Buena Park is 11-1 after beating Sonora 13-12 in Wednesday’s Freeway League opener.

Buena Park is not a program made up of club players. Buena Park newcomers are not only new to water polo, many of them are new to swimming.

“When I joined the team,” said Gabriel Zamora, the Coyotes’ senior goaltender, “that’s when I learned to swim.”

Buena Park water polo coach Shane LaFortune teaches physical education at the school, his alma mater. He recruits many first-time swimmers from his novice athletic class.

LaFortune shared the Orange County Water Polo Coach of the Year award with assistant coach Ted Clark in 2019 when they led Buena Park to a CIF SS championship. He concedes that a big part of the fact that there are so many beginning swimmers is that it’s like a painter has a blank canvas.

“Since I’m teaching them to swim,” he said, “I’m also teaching them every position. So we keep moving people around.”

Top contributors include attackers Adrian Angulo, Felix Cruz and Michael Rousselo, and hole keeper Elijah Trinidad.

Zamora is the team leader. He was the tournament MVP earlier this month when the Coytoes won the championship of the Thrills of the Hills tournament at Chino Hills High School. Zamora made 59 saves in four games in this tournament.

“Gabriel put in so much work, oh man,” LaFortune said. “He’s a 6-foot-1 kid with a wingspan of 6-3.”

Zamora likes to play goalkeeper.

“I like that I can keep getting better,” he says. “And there’s not much swimming.”


The JSerra and Mater Dei boys’ water polo teams are ranked 1-2 in the Orange County rankings and in the top 10 of the CIF-SS Division 1. They play in JSerra on Thursday, September 29 at 4:00 p.m against each other. …

Mater Dei has not disclosed his ticket distribution schedule for his October 7 soccer game against St. John Bosco at Santa Ana Stadium. Expect details in the coming days. …

If the CIF SS Football Playoffs were to begin this week and CIF SS Division 1 was again an eight-team group, the division first round games (higher-seeded team listed first) would be Mater Dei vs. Edison, St. John Bosco versus Bishop Amat. Corona Centennial vs Los Alamitos and Long Beach Poly vs Mission Viejo. Division placement and seedings based on CalPreps.com ratings. Mater Dei has a score of 103.1, Edison’s is 53.5, and no other division in the first round would have such a wide points gap as between Mater Dei and Edison.

The Dana Hills Cross Country Invitational takes place on Saturday. The San Clemente Boys team, last year’s Boys Seniors/Invitational Champion, has a good chance of repeating it. Senior Juan Chantaca will lead the Tritons against a good field that includes Dana Hills, Tesoro and Trabuco Hills. The girls’ field includes JSerra, ranked No. 1 in CIF-SS Division 4, as well as Dana Hills (Division 3, No. 1) and Corona Santiago (Division 1, No. 3). …

JSerra has 15 baseball players dedicated to NCAA baseball programs. The Lions were CIF-SS Division 1 champions last season. …

Villa Park senior Gavin Grahovac was a key player for Team USA, who won the World Baseball Softball Confederation U18 Baseball World Cup Sunday in Florida with a 5-1 win over Chinese Taipei. Last spring’s Orange County Player of the Year, Grahovac drove in Team USA’s first heat in the championship game. …

https://www.ocregister.com/2022/09/22/fryer-buena-park-boys-water-polo-starts-with-the-basics-builds-something-special/ Buena Park Boys’ Water Polo starts with the basics and builds something special – the Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

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