Learning season with high expectations

Bearcats enter season with only 3 seniors

PASO ROBLES —  The Paso Robles Bearcats are in a transition year with their boys water polo team. While the school is expected to have a brand new state-of-the-art pool coming in January, they are now having to split pool time with the girls team because the Central Section has both water polo seasons in the fall, and they have to replace both of their senior captains, Zack Tucker and John Nash.

Tucker is arguably the best water polo player to come out of Paso Robles and graduated last year with the school’s single-season goals record of 119 and also set the school's career goals record, finishing with 256. Nash, while not often in the spotlight, may have been the most important player on the Bearcats team a season ago because of the work he did in order to allow Tucker to play freely.

“We are never going to replace those two,” head coach Duane McRoy said. “But what we want to do is say, ‘Here is the standard,’ and push them.” Coming into this season the Bearcats only have three seniors on the roster in Cameron Armstrong, Ethan Moore, and Carson Weide and also return Zane Warren, who as a sophomore last year earned all-league honorable mention.

After the seniors and Warren, the Bearcats do not have much experience and will rely on talent and good team chemistry this year as they try and build a deep team as the year progresses.

“We had two really outstanding freshmen last year in AJ Brown and Tre Eade,” McRoy said. “Tre, as a freshman, was our third-leading scorer last year. So, we're trying to kind of build that work ethic together so that they can read each other in the pool, create together because they are young and have a year of varsity under their belts.”

While this year might be a bit of a mystery as to how the team will finish, the combination of the young nucleus of good players combined with the new pool has the Bearcats’ faithful optimistic for what is to come.

Paso Robles Joint Unified School District made a large statement regarding their commitment to Bearcats Aquatics programs with the announcement of the pool, and the community has responded with a huge increase in the number of athletes interested in water sports.  

“We had a strong summer as far as attendance goes,” McRoy said cheerfully. “Right now, my Athletic P.E. Class for sixth period for boys water polo, we are at 37 boys. I am thrilled because last year we were pushing maybe 10 to 11 kids on JV. A lot of the credit goes to coach East who got the middle school guys going.”

On Tuesday the Bearcats kicked off their season with their first game against Santa Maria High School and sprinted away with a 16-1 victory.  Jasen Line led the team in scoring with four goals, Armstrong added three, and Moore, Zack Summers, and Nate Martin all had two goals. Zane Warren finished the game with eight saves in goal.

Many of the young players on the team will have to go trial by fire, as the Bearcats head to Atascadero for their next game on Tuesday, Aug. 21. It is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.


© 2019-Paso Robles Press

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