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The Groves Scriptor

The Groves Scriptor

Groves men’s water polo prepares for state championship

Erika Rice
The water polo team practices in the Groves pool.

Our Groves men’s water polo team is going to the state championship— although they’re not going far, as Groves will be hosting this year. 


The water polo team members are working hard to prepare for the state championship. (Quinn Rice)


Head coach George Googasian is feeling optimistic about his team’s chances this weekend. “We’ve got a very young team here, we’ve got three sophomores in the starting lineup. The fact that we made it this far this year is a testament to our young players, but also some really strong senior leadership— especially out of Will Dinkeloo and Jackson Quinn, our captains,” Googasian said. 


Co-captain Jackson Quinn is feeling equally positive about the upcoming championship. “I think we have a good chance at making some changes in the rankings… the skill on some of [the underclassmen] is unbelievable.”


“I think we’re feeling pretty good about states right now!” said one of the underclassmen, sophomore Zach O’Connor. “We’ve been working on being better as a team, getting ourselves in the mindset of the game.”


The team’s relative inexperience may be one of their greatest assets. “Having a young team means that the boys don’t realize that they’re playing teams that are above their competition. We’ve found ourselves in games that we have no business being in, because we don’t think that we should be losing,” Googasian said, before adding that the team’s goalkeeping is also a big factor in their success. “Will Dinkeloo is playing better than just about any goalie in the state right now,” he said. 


Senior co-captain Will Dinkeloo is happy to make yet another save in practice. (Erika Rice)


Dinkeloo himself said that the team’s speed is their biggest strength. “We have two of the fastest kids in the state right now,” he said in reference to senior Asa Allen and sophomore Nate Stebbins. His co-captain agreed. 


“We are a whole lot faster [than other teams],” Quinn said. 


Dinkeloo also believes that their defense is up to par. “Decent strength on our team,” Dinkeloo said. “Our speed and our defense are our biggest things right now.”


Of course, there will be obstacles for the team on their path to victory this weekend. Coach Hunter Reilly said that it will be important for the team to win their first game against Jenison High School. “If we can do that, then just playing hard [and] working as a team are the key ways we’re going to win.”


“Sometimes we get stuck on offense, it’s getting pretty static,” Dinkeloo said of the team’s weak spots. “So [in the championship] we have to work on not getting stuck, moving around a lot. And also just our awareness in general. Awareness and movement, I think.”


“Size is definitely an issue. We’re a little bit smaller than the average team,” Quinn added. 


The team practices hard ahead of the state championship. (Quinn Rice)


Even with the loss of Dinkeloo, Quinn and their fellow seniors (including top scorer Asa Allen), Googasian believes that the team can maintain its momentum in the 2024-2025 school year. “We have some really big shoes to fill… we are going to be rebuilding a little, but I think the future is bright for Groves water polo.”

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About the Contributor
Erika Rice
Erika Rice, Editor-in-Chief
Erika Sharafeddin-Rice is a senior at Groves High School who plans to attend Northern Michigan University in the fall, where she will study Journalism and History. She is the Copy Editor and an Editor-in-chief (2023-2024) for the Groves Scriptor. Erika hopes to become a documentary filmmaker and nonfiction author, or perhaps the librarian of the state of Michigan, or maybe even both (it’s a long life). When she is not writing, she is also a competitive public speaker and does whatever needs to be done around the Groves Performing Arts Company. She enjoys studying Christian theology and American history and watching movies and television.
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