The IHSA released the list of sectional hosts for this year’s water polo playoffs on Monday, March 24. Well…kind of. Six locations were listed (GBS, LWC, Lyons, Metea Valley, Mundelein, UIC) while two of the sites were posted as being TBA. With less than two months until the playoffs begin and mere days away from the sectional assignments being made, there is a chance that teams/schools will be grouped together without knowing where they will be playing.

The reasoning for this is unknown, though it is becoming a common theme for this sort of thing to happen each March. Here is some information that I can add to hopefully provide some partial clarity to the situation:

  • Last year, Stagg was announced as the final ‘TBA’ sectional on April 16. Thus, we could be waiting a bit to find out the locations.
  • Fenwick and York have normally alternated hosting duties; neither was listed as a host this time around. Fenwick hosted an event last year, so if all went according to history, York could/should have been listed as a host.
  • There is no sectional host covering the Northwest Suburban area. In the past three years, the hosting duties were covered by Barrington (2011), Schaumburg (2012), and Fremd (2013). Palatine also falls into this category (they hosted in 2012) but I believe that replaced the Vernon Hills/Mundelein sectional grouping that year.

Some immediate questions come to mind:

  • What will come first…the final two ‘TBA’ Sectionals or the team assignments?
  • How will the addition of Lyons as a host affect the sectional groupings? Does the Lyons Sectional replace the usual Stagg grouping of teams, or is it replacing the Fenwick/York sectional and the teams that normally play there?

Stay tuned for more information.

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Weather Permitting…

Posted: March 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

With the season starting a week later and the weather heading towards the 50-degree mark over the weekend, it looked as if the high school water polo season could make it past Day #2 of the season (a snow day cancelled nearly the entire slate of games in 2013). A quick look at the weather report for Tuesday/Wednesday shows the possibility of anywhere between 3-9 inches of snow and blizzard-like conditions, depending on each school’s location. That could be problematic for Wednesday night’s slate if there are any school cancellations. Stay tuned to illpolo.com for updates on any cancellations should the weather predictions hold true.

And I suppose we could be thankful if we can get two days into the season before the weather causes any problems like it did last season. Shouldn’t these snow days stick to swim season? It’s mid-March!

Modernizing the Hall of Fame

Posted: March 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

Last week, the Hall of Fame inductees were released on the illpolo.com web site. The purpose of the endeavor was to provide a more modern version for high school water polo in Illinois rather than what most professional sports leagues use. Once a high school player graduates, there is no need to wait five years for the induction process to begin, nor is it necessary to make players wait 20-30 years before they are inducted. Since water polo has only been sponsored by the IHSA since 2002, I felt there was a need to immortalize some of the top athletes who have been a major part of this fast-growing sport.

The Starting Point

Posted: February 20, 2014 in Site Information

When checking the preseason rankings, keep in mind that these should be considered a starting point for the upcoming season, not a prediction of where a team will finish at the end of May. Rankings are compiled based on the information I have gathered from the end of the previous season, and many things have changed throughout the nine-month offseason.

Players have graduated early, decided to swim and not play water polo, or have simply improved dramatically by playing for the past several months. It will take a few weeks of games and tournaments for the rankings to shake themselves out, as has been the case for the past 12 years since I began covering the sport.

My advice? Use the preseason rankings as motivation if you must, but as a legendary water polo coach once wisely stated, “any ranking system should be taken with a grain of salt.” I agree wholeheartedly…and that is coming from the one compiling the rankings.