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Barlow Boys Water Polo Team Takes Home First-Ever State Title

Britney Henderson
The Barlow boys water polo program poses with their state championship trophy after the Fall Recognition Assembly.

Cheers erupted at the Osborn Aquatic Center in Corvallis, Oregon, on November 11th, 2023, as the Sam Barlow boys water polo team and coaches jumped in the pool to celebrate the program’s first-ever state championship title. The Bruins beat the Lake Oswego Lakers in triple-overtime, 11-10, in the Oregon 6A Boys Water Polo State Championship.

Head Coach Mike Riegelmann began his career in 2004 at Barlow as a Volunteer Coach. In 2006, Riegelmann became an Assistant Coach, and then became the Head Coach in 2016 and has held that position ever since.

Coach Riegelmann acknowledges the physically demanding aspect of water polo as his program practices twice a day, three days a week. However, team connection is also very important as Coach Riegelmann writes, “Many of these players have been playing together since middle school.” Between time spent in practices, games, team dinners, and team retreats, the bond connecting teammates on the boys water polo team is reflected in what they were able to accomplish.

Very little can top the feeling of winning a state championship. Along with Coach Riegelmann, seniors Hayden Markell and Sam Moffat regard the victory as their personal favorite moment of the season. Further, Coach Riegelmann acknowledges junior Cole Schmitt’s large contribution to the championship game. Coach Riegelmann shares, “Cole Schmitt was able to come in off the bench in the championship game and score two goals to send us into overtime: twice.”

Along with a fantastic state title, resounding statistics emerged from the 2023 season from multiple players. Junior Levi Riegelmann led the team in scoring as he reached triple-digits with 100 goals and 149 points, Cole Christiansen, a senior, broke a previous school record with 278 blocks and is ranked 16th in the nation for saves, and Markell finished the season with 90 steals as another leader for the Bruins (MaxPreps). 

The 2023 Bruin boys water polo season was something to be proud of for all contributors. For seniors Christiansen, Markell, and Moffat, among others, this was their final season playing together after eight or nine years dedicated to the sport. To his coaches and teammates, Christiansen says, “Thank you so much for an incredible four years and a winning season. Not only have I learned more about water polo, but about life.” Markell reiterates a similar statement adding, “We all made history together as part of this team and we should be quite proud of it.” While Moffat shares a much shorter message that sums it up just as well, “Well done fellas!” 

Coach Riegelmann holds high hopes for next season and has one last motivating reminder for returning and graduating players, “If you can play water polo, you can do anything you put your mind to.”

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Britney Henderson
Britney Henderson, Editor in Chief

Hi I’m Britney! I am a Senior and this is my second year on the Bruin Banner. I enjoy reading and writing. Outside of school I love playing softball and paddle boarding!

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