Last year, the girl's water polo team was heading towards another successful year. Under experienced coach Paul Felton, the ladies easily qualified for the Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs. All seemed to be going well until they were contacted abruptly by their coach.
“As we were all preparing for CCS, we received an email from our coach saying that we were disqualified from CCS because our coach scheduled us in too many tournaments,” senior Ariana Ebling said.
Seemingly out of the blue, CCS officials declared that the team was ineligible to play. They stated that the Panthers had violated bylaws by submitting inaccurate season summary sheets.
In the sheets, Felton did not include some of the preseason games the Panthers played in because he believed they were scrimmages (as opposed to regulated games). However, the CCS Commissioner declared that Felton had purposefully filled out an incorrect summary, and disqualified BHS from the playoffs. Additionally, CCS ruled to punish BHS by cutting six games off the 2016 season and continuing the CCS ban for the girl's team. After the season, Coach Felton decided to step down to spend more time with his family.
The Panther’s new coach, Perry Wu, was surprised that Felton’s “17 spotless years of service was not considered” by CCS.
Despite multiple appeals by the school. CCS did not budge on their ruling.
The current team has learned from last year and are still determined to succeed this season.
“I’ve learned that success isn’t given; you have to work for it,” senior Mollie Sobel, who is one of the captains for the 2016 team, said.
Sobel also added “I think we have already begun to build a name for ourselves and regain our prestige. I’m looking forward to the season.”
The Panthers refuse to let the CCS regulations discourage them. They have stepped up their practice schedule, working out for over 15 hours a week, even on Saturdays. Players are excited to play under Wu, who played water polo at Stanford and is very knowledgeable and passionate about the sport.
Coach Wu also has a positive outlook for this season.
“Now that we’ve begun to gel a bit, we are in a position to start fine-tuning and execute better,” Wu stated.