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Monmouth College Crab People ready to make waves

September 16, 2011

Justin Frye/The Courier - Two of the ‘Crab People’ practice for the upcoming season. The Monmouth College Crab People are determined to win the national title this year. They have begun practicing and their first tournament will be held at Grinnell College Saturday, Sept 24. They will match up against Knox College, Augustana College, Maclester College, and Grinnell College.

The Monmouth College water polo team is ready to get their fifth season underway.

Since the team’s inception in 2007, they have boasted three conference championships and earned the number two spot in the national rankings; not bad for a ‘club team.’

The water polo team is and has been a student run organization since 2007. Since the team is not recognized by the college administration as an official team, they are unable to utilize the ‘Fighting Scots’ mascot and have adopted the name “The Crab People.”

The team kicks off their quest for a national championship Saturday, Sept. 24 in a tournament at Grinnell College where they will play Knox College and Augustana College the first day, and Macalester and rivals Grinnell College Sunday afternoon.

Since the beginning of the academic year, Pepper Natatorium has been busy in preparation for this season.

After three consecutive conference championships, the ‘Crab People’ were undefeated in 2010 until a loss to the University of California-Santa Cruz in the national championship game last year and hope to get back to the national spotlight.

“We did a lot of great things as a team, and really set a great reputation for our school and its water polo program,” said senior Jeff Skalon.

Fourteen of the 17-man roster are returning from last year, six of whom had starting roles. Tom Pedersen, the lone graduating starter leaves in his wake a large senior class ready to pick up where he and others left off last season. Wasielewski and Skalon stand ready to lead the team towards their goal. Of the 14 returners, the experience ranges all the ways from two to nine years of playing.

 “We are going to play well as a team and have fun while we win conference for a fourth year in a row, and hopefully a national championship,” Wasielewski confidently stated.

Coach Josh Dunn has set forth a new mind set for the 2011 team: “One team, One Goal, One game at a time”. This team motto has everyone “in sync” added Skalon.

“We want to play as a team, we want to win a national championship, and we want to do it one game at a time,” continued Skalon. “It’s been a family since my freshmen year, and I look forward to really making another historical season for Monmouth College Water Polo and sharing the passion of the game with the younger players.”

Zach Heilman is one of those younger players. As a freshman, Heilman saw significant minutes in 2010 and looks to continue improving during his sophomore campaign.

“I’m really excited about this season,” said Heilman. “Polo has always been something I’ve enjoyed, and to be part of such a great group which has had so much success is great.”

Heilman is one of several young members that is ready to step up and learn from those who have set the path for them.

“The founders of this team did an awesome job,” spoke Heilman, whose brother, Harrison, was a contributing member in the beginning stages.

“The team’s goal this year is to gain more knowledge about the game and go into nationals with complete confidence and come home to Monmouth the national champions,” said team captain Frank Wasielewski.

Andrew Farraher
Contributing Writer

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