Not many water polo players can rival what Taylor Wreesman ‘18 has accomplished during her career for the Dragons. As a three-year member of the varsity girls’ water polo team, Wreesman has been the starting goalkeeper since the establishment of the program. Back in 2015, she anchored the Dragons on their way to a CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) Division VII championship.
The following year, Foothill took second place in CIF Division VII as they were halted by the Trojans of Hillcrest Christian High School. Due to their success, Wreesman and the Dragons moved up to CIF Division III, evening the competitive balance.
This year, Wreesman was a team captain for Foothill as they prepared for the transition to Division III. She made sure that her teammates were prepared as well, telling them to remember that “we’re not a bad team.”
“In Division VII, there were times when we felt like the best of the best, the best of all of them because we were really good,” she said. “And now we are against teams that are equal to us and better than us, and we just have to remember to focus on our skills and what we can do.”
Surprisingly, the division move did not seem to cease the Dragons’ success, and they clinched a wild-card spot in their first year. Reflecting on the season, Wreesman laughed and said the chance to play in a Division III wild-card “was a shock.”
“We didn’t even think we were going to get that,” she said.
Wreesman began her water polo career as a freshman in 2015 as a member of Foothill’s inaugural season. She described her motive for joining the sport as a “random thought,” noting that she was “completely blind” to the game of water polo in general.
However, this “random thought” has developed into a big part of her life. Over the last three years, Wreesman stated that water polo “has definitely grown” on her.
She expressed that she has grown to love the sport of water polo because of its “intensity.”
“It’s fast-paced, it’s seconds, everything is going a mile a minute,” Wreesman said. “And it’s only 45 minutes, but in 45 minutes, it’s pure intensity and chaos.”
According to Wreesman, water polo contains a certain level of “excitement” for her.
“It’s like ‘I wonder how hard they’ll throw at me’ or I’ll wonder what type of blocks I’ll make,” she said. “It’s kind of just the excitement of with what’s possible with my skills.”
In water polo, it is essential that a goalkeeper or team captain possesses a sense of leadership to some extent. Wreesman said that she has “always had people tell me that I have leadership qualities” and that she wants to grow in this specific area.
She acknowledged and expressed the importance of this quality.
“Being a goalie, you get to see the entire field and you always know what’s going on,” she said. “You get a different take to some of the girls, and if you look at it in the whole picture point of view, it is a leadership kind of position.”
Teammate Annika Arroyo ‘19 vouched for Wreesman’s leadership skills, saying that she is “very motivational.”
“Taylor is a great captain of our team and has really brought us together,” she said.
As a goalkeeper, Wreesman offered her thoughts on what it takes to be effective at the position.
“It’s just the no fear mentality,” she said. “And you just have to have a short term memory, like I have to think about the next shot, the next play that’s happening, the next thing that’s coming at me.”
She also emphasized the importance of persevering through rigorous conditioning that “takes you to your breaking point.”
“You have to push through it mentally and physically,” Wreesman said. “You just have to realize how much better you’re getting through all this pain, and that’s where you realize your mental toughness and how good you are.”
Jaina Malach ‘18, Wreesman’s teammate, attested to her work ethic in regards to water polo.
She explained that Taylor “will never put in 99 percent effort, she will put in 101 percent effort.”
Next year, Wreesman will partake in her fourth and final season as a member of the Dragons’ water polo team. She acknowledged that her senior year will be “a little emotional,” but also mentioned the importance of being a leader and role model to the athletes with less experience.
“I want to make an impact on the incoming girls and just leave a lasting effect,” she said. “Like, ‘This is how it is and you need to work hard, you can get through it and you can become really good.’”
Wreesman has definitely left an impact on teammate Annika Fedde ‘19, who continually mentioned her “positivity” and her “dedication,” among other things.
“As a sophomore on varsity, you want someone to look up to,” Fedde said. “And she’s a really good example of that.”
One of the things that Wreesman will miss the most about Foothill water polo is the “connection” with her teammates.
“It’s just the connection you have with everyone and how close you are with these girls,” she said. “You see them at their worst moments and their best moments, you see them in the locker room, and you see them at school.”
Regarding the team’s potential in the upcoming season, Wreesman “definitely” thinks that the Dragons can make a deep playoff run. However, the circumstances may be challenging due to the departure of Lezly Plahn ‘17, who Wreesman “loves dearly.” Plahn was a major part of Foothill’s success over the past three years due to her unstoppable offensive force.
Despite this, Wreesman is optimistic because the Dragons “have a lot of sophomores and some freshmen that are developing really good and really quickly.”
In addition to the loss of Plahn, the Dragons will also be losing Sam Marinaro, who was the head coach of the team for the past three seasons.
When asked about the departure of Marinaro, Wreesman emphasized that the team is certainly going to miss her.
“[With Marinaro] we learned how to push through it and how to realize our potential,” she said. “She makes you face your problems and your fears but she really helps you through it.”
Wreesman’s hope is to continue playing water polo beyond high school, saying that it would be “fantastic” to receive a scholarship from a college. In addition, Wreesman currently plays on the varsity girls’ softball team and she is “currently looking for scholarships” to play college softball.
As a talented athlete and a great leader, there is no doubt that Wreesman’s future will be bright. She will be protecting the goal for one last season when the team sets out on a quest next year for a CIF championship.