By Marty Farmer
The Fenwick water polo boys and girls water polo teams typically make their respective marks every spring with deep postseason runs often culminating with a state title. The Friars' most recent case in point occurred this past spring when the boys team claimed its ninth state championship over the past ten seasons.
Now the Friars, with the aid of several premier youth age/high school water polo players from Chicagoland, are tearing up summer action in the pool as well.
Windy City Water Polo, based out of Fenwick, recently capped off its scintillating summer campaign as one of the top water polo clubs in Illinois.
Locally, Windy City's two 14 & under teams took fifth and sixth place, respectively, in the American Water Polo Summer League. The 12 & under squad garnered fourth place in its division, while Windy City's high school girls and boys team went 5-0 and 3-1 in regular season action. The high school boys team also battled its way to a fourth-place showing in the AWP championship tournament.
On a national level, Windy City sent high school squads to tournaments in Cincinnati, East Lansing, Mich., and Philadelphia. The teams consisted of players from nine area high schools, featuring a heavy dose of Fenwick and Oak Park and River Forest High School players.
Fenwick coach Luke McGuire and Morton Scott Gourley guided one of the teams to eighth place at the Cincinnati Shootout. Fenwick boys varsity head coach Kyle Perry led another Windy City squad to sixth at the Spartan Invite in East Lansing.
Windy City's top high school boys team traveled to Philadelphia for the AWP National State Challenge. Led by a plethora of Fenwick players including Michael Hill, DJ Perez, David Durkin, Will Skowron, Ryan Masi, Emmett Jenkins, Mickey McGuire, Colin Daly, Bailey Wendt, Tommy Martino and Flip Wilk, the group pushed Cumberland Valley (Pennsylvania's 2012 state runner-up) to double-overtime before losing a heartbreaker in the closing seconds of the sudden death period.
Fenwick girls varsity head coach Jack Wagner led the Windy City girls team to a sixth-place finish. Anna Sullivan, Catie Wallace, Olivia Wendt, Erin Kulik, Bridgit Carey, Shannon Forst, Jillian Wickham and Claire Durkin sparked the team's impressive run in Pennsylvania.
Several former Friars are also making their water polo presence felt around the world. Chris Wendt (Class of 2009) captained Team USA at the 2013 World University Games. Team USA edged Japan 8-7 to take fifth place overall.
Matt Farmer, who led the Friars to the IHSA state title in the spring, is currently in Croatia training as part of the USA Water Polo Junior National Team. After competing in the 17th FINA World Men's Junior Water Polo Championships in Hungary this week, Farmer will head to UCLA where he will join teammate Wendt to begin the NCAA season with the highly regarded Bruins.
Matt Napleton, who graduated with Wendt at Fenwick in 2009, signed to play professional water polo for the Rari Nantes Savona club team in Italy. Napleton, who recently graduated from Bucknell, was serving as an assistant coach for the Windy City's top boys' high school team.
According to Perry, Napleton is the first Illinois water polo player to participate in the top Italian professional league.
Windy City's fall season for age group water polo players (14 & under, 12 & under, and 10 & under) begins on Monday, August 19. There is a brief registration meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the Fenwick library followed by the first practice 5:45-7:15 p.m. Practices will be held on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5:45 p.m.-7:15 p.m. throughout August, September and October. The season will conclude with a travel trip to Denver on November 1-3. For more information, visit Windy City Water Polo's new website at: www.fenwickfriars.com/Page/2550.