By Andrew Ke
Ashley Wallin was selected as the August Athlete of the Month through her hard work and determination on the Girls’ Water Polo team. Wallin was one of just three freshmen on the team last season and was respected amongst her teammates for diligence and a strong effort in the pool. She is a utility player, thus capable of playing offense and defense at a high level.
“Ashley is one of the smartest water polo players I have met… she works extremely hard and is someone you can rely on for both [defense] and offense,” senior Maria Langlois said.
Wallin started playing water polo when she was 10, and has a strong family background in the field.
“My dad played water polo in college so I have always been exposed to the sport…I eventually started playing it and grew to love it,” Wallin said.
Wallin played a crucial role last year in helping the team qualify to CIF for the first time in over six years and owned a 14-11 record on the season. Wallin’s favorite memory from the season was going to CIF with the rest of the team.
“We had worked hard all year and to see it pay off by getting to go to CIF together was a great feeling,” Wallin said.
Sophomore Caitlyn Liao was impressed by Wallin’s mentality throughout the season and during the CIF game.
“During the CIF game, although we ultimately didn’t win, our entire team, especially Ashley, played diligently throughout,” Liao said. Liao went on to reminiscence of how Wallin played “just as hard during the fourth quarter as the first, not allowing fatigue to get to her… she did not let the score intimidate her and believed in her team,” Sophomore Caitlyn Liao said
Liao also credits Wallin for helping her grow as a player and praises her patient attitude.
“[Ashley’s] very dependable…she’s helped me grow so much as a player. She scored a lot of our goals last year, and she often defends some of our toughest opponents. She’s supportive and never gets upset at the rest of the team when we make mistakes,” Liao said.
Water Polo coach Jesse Briggs commended Wallin for her excellent first season with the team, citing her elite versatility and defense.
“[Wallin] came onto the team last year, and immediately made an impact. She was able to compete as one of our top-level performers in her swimming, shooting, and overall water polo abilities,” Briggs said, “she is also a top defender and all-around balanced player. The fact that she has a few more years to continue to grow and mature as an athlete is exciting to me because her future is bright in this sport.”
Briggs also recognized Wallin’s ability to help the team’s chemistry through her leadership.
“In and out of the water, she holds high standards as being a good teammate. All of her teammates seem to adore her and respect her. She commits to practice and games with 100% of her effort. She is a real joy to coach,” Briggs said.
Wallin has some broad goals in water polo that she hopes to achieve.
“In the future, I hope to keep training hard and continue playing in college,” Wallin said.