The Fenwick boys water polo team is vying for its ninth-straight state title this season.File photo/John T. Brennan

All one needs to do to get an idea of the success of the water polo program at Fenwick High School is look up at the state title banners hanging in the field house of the private Catholic school. Both the boys and the girls teams will look to hang more banners after this season.

The Fenwick boys are gunning for their ninth-straight state title, while the girls, who won their sixth title last season, are vying for back-to-back state championships.

For the boys, seniors Viken Huening (defense), Rich Mueller (utility), Dan Kelly (utility), Mike Hanfland (attack), Tom Osmolak (offense), and juniors Tommy McGuire (goalkeeper), Matt Farmer (offense) and Matt Bresnahan (utility) all return from last year’s 36-0 squad.

Farmer, a member of the USA Youth National Water Polo Team and Fenwick’s main scoring threat, netted four goals in the team’s 16-9 victory over St. Ignatius for the state title last season. But if this seems like a small group of returnees from that undefeated season, newcomers on this year’s varsity squad have done their share of winning as well. The Freshman/Sophomore team also had a perfect record last season, and won the Metro Conference Athletic Conference.

Leading this talented group of newbies includes juniors Mike Mahoney (attack), Trevor McLean (attack), Justin White (attack), Jimmy Mullen (attack), Derek Guillen (attack), Tony Perez (attack) and sophomore Omar Calderon (attack).

The Friars are getting right down to business with their own Dan Lynch Tournament beginning this week. The tournament boasts 12 teams ranked in the top 25.

“Our focus is to work hard and have fun,” said head coach Kyle Perry, whose father Dave, established the water polo program at Fenwick. Dave passed away in September after a long battle with cancer.

Brother Rice, Loyola and St. Ignatius are likely to contend with the Friars for the top spot in the MCAC, but chances are they will more or less be vying for second place. The Fenwick dynasty is likely to continue in the conference and in the state tournament.

As for the girls team, head coach Jack Wagner will go with a much younger lineup, having lost five players to graduation last season. The good news is senior goalkeeper Mackenzie Bonk is back, along with starters Maureen Barron and sophomores Cara Borkovec and Colleen Barron. Juniors Paige Kohut and Haley Wickam move into the starting lineup, along with sophomore Alexa Ovalle.

Sophmores Maggie Sheean, Bridget Carey, Olivia Wendt, Janette Angelini and Addy Curry as well as Erin McDonald are expected to make a significant impact.

“Roles for the bench have not been decided as of yet but we expect by seasons end to have everything in place to make a run at defending our state title,” said Wagner.

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...