|Club||South Coast||South Coast Aquatics||Thousand Oaks||CA|
|Primary Position||Center Defender|
My water polo club team made it to the Junior Olympic finals this past season. On the last game I played before leaving to hike the Pyrennes Mountains in Spain, I made two goals, one of which I threw from the middle of the pool to beat the clock. Entering 10th grade this year, I've challenged myself by taking Algebra II with Trigonometry Honors as well as Honors classes in English and Bio.
I was paralyzed when I was two years old by a little known virus that presents like polio. At the time, doctors didn't know how to categorize my affliction, but it now has a name; AFM or Acute flaccid myelitis. I was one of the first cases. My parents thought I may never walk again. After several years, my mobility returned, but I was left with an awkward gate. By middle school, I had mostly recovered, but I didn't have a lot of agility in my hips which made running difficult for me.
I know what it means to be bullied.
When I began to play water polo in middle school, it was mainly as a fun way to obtain the physical therapy I needed to help recover the physicality I lost and the stability in my hips. Water polo was a good fit because I could use my size, arm strength, and buoyancy in the water to propel myself across the pool, and my disability was mostly undetectable in the water. In the process, not only have I been able to overcome my disability to the extent most professionals would never know what I've experienced, but also, the bonus is, I've become quite good. This experience has taught me I can overcome any obstacle in life through perseverance and good old fashioned hard work. Beater up!
Playing a team sport can be a humbling experience, especially when you are starting out. When I used to have to sit on the sidelines because I wasn't good enough to be a starting player, I helped my fellow "bench warmers" stay optimistic and cheered them on when they were called to perform. I am a competitive person by nature, however, I understand the value of being a team leader both in the pool and out.
I am constantly working on conditioning my body and engaging in a healthy lifestyle. Because I chose my high school for academics, and they don't have a water polo team, I play with a league. I joined a swimming fitness regime at nearby Oaks Christian School to stay fit during our off-season. During the summer, I have been going on nine-day hiking trips for the last few years with a group abroad. This allows me the opportunity to meet new people from across the country, as well as experience different countries. The hikes help to condition my body and the experience enriches my mind.
Last year, I volunteered with my mother for the Red Cross after the Woolsey Fire. We worked handing out supplies from a Red Cross truck to those afflicted by the fire.
I spearheaded a group of students to remove crayfish from local streams in Calabasas, California.
I have done community service in Edinburgh Scotland through Apogee Adventures.