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WAC coaches recognize CHS talent
Elise Cannella scored
Elise Cannella scored 71 goals during her final season with Ceres High’s girls water polo program. - photo by DALE BUTLER/ Courier file photo

Four members of Ceres High School’s water polo program earned Western Athletic Conference honors this fall, including team captains Elise Cannella, Andrea Contreras, Nicholas Campbell and Jaden Joy.

Cannella was selected to the WAC Second Team for starring on Ceres High’s girls squad, which compiled an 8-6 record en route to a fourth-place finish in the league standings. The top three teams advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

Contreras was an honorable-mention selection.

Cannella, a fourth-year player, led the Bulldogs in scoring with 71 goals.

“Elise should have made First Team,” Ceres High head coach Stephen Dias said. “She was consistent. She was very aggressive in the water. She didn’t back down. She played with confidence. When she knew we needed some points, she’d make some shots. She’ll definitely be missed.”

Contreras, a third-year player who will be lost to graduation this June, had 32 goals.

“She was focused,” Dias said. “She was very competitive. She didn’t want to come out of the game when you put her in. She contributed to the team in a solid way with her passing and game knowledge. She grew her strengths over three years.”

Campbell earned second-team, all-conference accolades for starring on Ceres High’s boys team, which tied for sixth place in the WAC standings (3-11) with Pacheco.

Joy was an honorable-mention pick.

Campbell, a junior, led the Bulldogs in scoring with a career-high 117 goals.

He should have earned first-team, all-league recognition according to Dias.

“He could have been MVP but that comes from the first-place team,” Dias said. “He was a major threat. All the teams double and triple teamed him. He motivated the other kids. I’ve seen steady growth from him each year.  He’s got all the things that make you a good water polo player. He’s got a super, strong arm. He’s very competitive. He’s learning the process of being a team player.”

Joy, a senior, tallied 17 goals.

“He had a 180-degree turnaround from last year,” Dias said. “It was amazing. He was a lot faster. He was motivated. He moved the ball where it needed to be. He was a steady rock in the water.”

Nicholas Campbell Ceres
Ceres High boys water polo standout Nicholas Campbell tallied a career-high 117 goals this fall. - photo by DALE BUTLER/ Courier file photo