It had been a few years since the Long Beach Poly boys’ water polo team had claimed a CIF-SS championship–92 years, to be exact–but the Jackrabbits got it done under coach Ish Pluton with a 14-11 win over Crespi in the Division 4 championship.
“This means so much to us, it means so much to me,” said Pluton, an alum of the program who recently was hired as the school’s swim team too. “I came back to coach Poly water polo because of how much of a family it was when I was a player. To be able to come back and be the coach and to be a part of this family again, having a group of boys that can accomplish this–it truly means the world to me. And to so many Poly alums who share that same sense.”
Poly junior Reece Hammond finished with a hat trick but it was a true team effort for Poly with big performances in the playoffs from Charlie Lemmis, Chaz Pruett, Beau Wade, Tyler Oatey, Markus Cruz, and Colin Soohoo
Oatey, a Poly legacy whose entire family has attended the school for generations, said this was beyond his wildest dreams.
“I don’t think, me, my dad, any of us saw something like this coming,” he said. “A lot of us were new to water polo in high school and we’ve just been grinding and learning. We put in all those years of hard work for 28 minutes today.”