Monthly Awards

Athlete Of The Month - March 2012 Jake Ehrhardt - Santa Barbara Water Polo Club

Undoubtedly one of the busiest and most-dedicated players, Jake Ehrhardt of the Santa Barbara Water Polo Club is rarely out of the water. He plays on SB's 14U team, but also plays with their 12U team as he can; as well as the Titan Water Polo Club's 14u & 12u teams in the Ventura League when his Santa Barbara schedules allow. Jake & his family, that includes younger brothers Jaden & Josh, live in Camarillo.

Jake started playing water polo at age 9 with the local Titan's Club based at nearby Rio Mesa High School. Last year, he & his parents made the decision to join the highly-competitive Santa Barbara Water Polo Club and a goal of taking his game to the next level. With nightly practices three times a week an hour away, playing for Santa Barbara would not be possible without teammate Calvin Thorpe and his family's commitment to do the same allowing for carpooling. Last year, as an 11-year old, Jake was a top-scorer on Santa Barbara's 12U team (coached by Jeff Ashton) that finished 3rd at the United States Club Championships and at Junior Olympics nearly knocked-off eventual champions SOCAL. For 2012, Cathy Neushul, SB's Director of Water Polo and Head Coach of the UCSB Women's Water Polo team, moved Jake up to the 14u's and put him in the able hands of Head Coach Tyler Powell. With 2 years of age eligibility in the 14U division still remaining after this year, the experience of practicing and playing with the older boys should prove very beneficial for him down the road as he continues to develop his skills.

Another great experience on the horizon for Jake, he's part of a select group of SBWPC 14U boys headed to southeastern Europe this summer. The trip is being arranged by the SJL Foundation and its founder George Lilly. The team will be staying in the coastal city of Kotor, Montenegro, the sister city to Santa Barbara. While there the boys will train daily, play in tournaments and learn the European-style of play from the Head Coach of the Montenegro National Team.

Jake has played baseball, basketball, soccer and before he was 8 years old had earned his black belt in Taekwondo. He enjoyed playing them all. But it wasn't until he found the sport of water polo and met a coach that saw true potential in him, Cecilio Murillo from the TWPC, that he knew he'd found a sport he truly loved. From the first night when he jumped-in the pool and could barely make a lap without holding the wall, to now looking forward to playing in the Adriatic Sea this summer in Montenegro, water polo has already made a tremendous impact in his life and development as a young man.

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