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Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

A young star emerges from the water

Ava Waggoner makes history by setting new water polo record.
Ava+Waggoner+attempts+to+protect+the+goal.+
Photo courtesy of Ava Waggoner
Ava Waggoner attempts to protect the goal.

Stop after stop, sophomore varsity girls water polo goalie Ava Waggoner battled to keep her opponents from scoring. Waggoner broke the most saves in a season record by making 325 saves in the 2023-2024 season. The record was previously set in 2018 at 300 saves. 

In early November, Waggoner took on her role as the sole goalie on the varsity team, playing through January to set the record.

“I felt really excited because I didn’t think it was something I would be able to accomplish,” Waggoner said. “Especially because I started high school not knowing how to play at all.”

This season, the girls water polo team struggled in league, finishing fourth and missing out on the playoffs, but Waggoner viewed the season as a rebuilding year. 

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“We are a really young team; we have a lot of sophomores on varsity,” Waggoner said. “I think it was a really good experience year. We weren’t trying to win all of our games, we were just trying to play for the experience so we could become really good next year.”

Along with newer players, the water polo team made changes to their coaching staff early in the season, hiring a specialized goalie coach to work on more specific goalie training. Waggoner spent long practices treading water while holding things above her head to help her jump out of the water to block.

“That’s part of the reason I think I did so well this year,” Waggoner said. “She did a lot of goalie training that I hadn’t really done before.”

As a goalie, Waggoner mostly stays in one position, treading water for the majority of the game rather than swimming like field players. 

“It’s a lot more focused on your legs and jumping as far out of the water as you can,” Waggoner said.

Waggoner started playing water polo her freshman year, playing for both varsity and JV to gain experience. She cites her confidence as the main reason she was able to break the record this year.

“Even though I wasn’t playing a lot for varsity, I got more playing experience, and I feel like it really helped me this season to become varsity level,” Waggoner said. “I love making a really good save and then looking back and seeing my entire team cheering for me and my coach with a smile on her face. That’s really rewarding.”

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About the Contributor
Marissa Alejo, Copy and coverage editor-in-chief
Hi my name is Marissa Alejo, I'm a senior and I'm the Copy and Coverage editor-in-chief for The Hoofprint. Outside of The Hoofprint I am on the girls soccer team and also play club soccer. In my free time I love watching sports and reading.
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