Preview: a healthy rivalry

Zack Schade, Staff Writer

American River Drive homes two water polo powerhouses: the Rio Americano Raiders and the Jesuit High School Marauders. These two teams have been cross-street rivals since Jesuit High School stole the land to build the school in 1963. A battle between the two teams will take place in the pool on Friday Sept. 26 at 7p.m.

“The rivalry is a healthy rivalry,” said Mr. Tim Warren, dean of students at Jesuit High School.

This rivalry, starting in 1963, has stayed strong and has continued throughout the decades. Jesuit and Rio both maintain strong aquatic teams, both holding numerous section titles in their respective divisions. Jesuit High School has acquired eight section titles in the Sac Joaquin Section Division I, and Rio Americano High School has acquired one title in the Sac Joaquin Section Division I and five titles in Sac Joaquin Section Division II.

Though being rivals, the two schools look out for each other when the time comes. As stated by Mr. Warren, “Our water polo and swim team used to practice in their pool before our pool was built.” Last year during Rio Americano’s Invitational Tournament, a Jesuit player was blindsided and injured in an uncalled for way by an El Toro player. Rio Americano responded by banning the player from playing further in the tournament. When the team did not comply with the player having been banned, the team was disqualified from further competition in the tournament.

“Our players know their players,” said Mr. Warren. Many of the Jesuit water polo players have participated in club water polo with members of the Rio Americano team. These players have known and played together for years during off season, and go to face each other during school season.

“It’ll be fun,” says senior Will Beckwith.

“We’ll have to look out for Ian [Brady] but I think our starting lineup will be able to control the game and we’ll end up on top,” said senior Edward Smet.

“We’re looking forward to it. Hungry to play. Played a great game last year and we expect the same from them this year. We’ve been working hard to play teams especially like Rio,” said senior Stetson Wheeler.

“They’re strong up the middle meaning they’ve got a decent athletic goalkeeper. Burgess is playing center. He’s big, strong, physical, and obviously they have the returning player of the year as their lefty, Ian Brady, and he’s a major threat.” said Head Coach Boyd Lachance.

“Rio is a younger team, but the players that will be in the mix will develop quickly.They will be on the fast-track and be very competitive come November. I think after we play Rio in the early phase of the season will prepare us for higher level.” added Coach Boyd.

“It’s gonna be tough to cover Ian, but we’re gonna defend our title of ‘Kings of American River Drive,'” said sophomore Josh Orrick.

Will Peterson, senior, said, “It should be a good battle. They return an all American from last year but it’s at our house this year so I think we will handle them fine.”

The team has worked hard for this mash-up to come, but only the aftermath of the battle itself will tell who will be crowned the “Kings of American River Drive.”