Difficult Start After Water Polo Staffing Mishap


Media by Kevin Arens

Erin Huff, senior, struggled over the ball with a Ladue defender. She will participate in her fourth year of water polo this year, after a staffing mishap caused difficulties during tryouts. “I’m still looking forward to the season,” Huff said. “Just because it didn’t start off well doesn’t mean it cant still end great.”

After a tumultuous start to the season, the water polo team has finalized their coaching staff, following the first week of tryouts.

Usually there are three coaches for the team, but during this year’s tryouts there was only one due to the newly hired coach resigning and paperwork delays for potential replacements.

Senior Erin Huff, who has been playing since her freshman year, said this is by far the most interesting start to a season she’s had.

“It has been an interesting tryouts,” Huff said.

Despite being chaotic and confused at some points, she said the team was able to successfully complete tryouts with only one coach.

“I’m still looking forward to the season,” Huff said. “Just because it didn’t start off well doesn’t mean it can’t still end great.”

It was frustrating. It’s not an easy sport, so not having as much help made it even harder.

— Kevin Kerber

Activities Director Adam Starling said the head coach, who’d been hired this year, received a promotion at his place of employment and resigned without attending the first two practices.

The administration had to hire another assistant coach, but then the issue became about background checks and paperwork because the hirees didn’t already work in the district.

“Luckily, there were two other individuals that wanted to help out and have a lot of water polo experience,” Starling said.

Kevin Kerber volunteered to coach last year, and he stepped up this year to be hired as an employee amid the staffing complications. Along with Kerber, Reagan Castillo, who played D1 water polo in college and coaches a local club team, will be joining the staff as well.

Claire Maniscalco has been coaching in the water polo program for four years now and stepped into the head coach position. She said she felt confident about her ability to lead tryouts and practices, but because there was only one of her, it was a lot to juggle.

I’m still looking forward to the season. Just because it didn’t start off well doesn’t mean it can’t still end great.

— Erin Huff

“I am fortunate in that I have a very supportive team full of leaders that lended me an extra hand with teaching the basics,” Maniscalco said.

She said it took reflecting back on years past, to see what worked and what didn’t, in order to maximize her bandwidth during tryouts. Because she had to step up into a head coach position so quickly, she sat down beforehand to research drills and training for her athletes.

She said that while it was a challenge and definitely pushed the team, it ultimately made her a better coach.

‘It is a very difficult sport to play,” Maniscalco said. “But there is no doubt in my mind that they will all work hard and have a great season.”

Neveah Kerber, sophomore, said the changes were frustrating. In years past, they’ve had up to four coaches running and assisting with tryouts.

Kerber said it was difficult for only one coach to focus on so many people at once, as well as difficult for the athletes to receive feedback.

“It was frustrating,” Kerber said. “It’s not an easy sport, so not having as much help made it even harder.”

While the season didn’t start as strong as she would’ve liked, she looks forward to the rest of the season. They will compete in their first game Wednesday, March 15, against Oakville at home.

“In the beginning, I was really not feeling it,” Kerber said. “Once the coaches were back, I really started to feel like we’d have a good season.”