AHHS Water Polo Girls Team Recaps Year
Water polo has been an Alamo Heights tradition for years, with numerous trips to state and wins by the varsity boys’ teams. For the girls’ team, the goal was set, and the journey to the state tournament began. It was 2013 when a majority of the key players left the sport their senior year, leaving only a few members who knew how to play. The team’s four remaining players were determined to make it to state. They completed their first season winless, but were driven to make a name for themselves.
Water polo teams usually consist of year-round swimmers, but the AH girls’ team had only four swimmers on the team. It was time to recruit. The remaining team members spent the next two years on a mission to find girls who wanted to play and who had great heart. The girls found a soccer goalie, some volleyball players, a basketball player and two dancers to fill out the team. They knew they could teach them the game if the girls had the spirit to win.
The 2016 team comprised 13 girls, seven of those being seniors. For most of the team, it was their last year to make it to the state tournament. As the season progressed, the girls’ water polo team won more games than in the past two years combined. When the regional tournament came around, they faced McAllen High School, a team they had both beaten and lost to in season play. In the most important game of the season they clinched a win over McAllen by a large margin and advanced to the state tournament for the first time in three years.
The state tournament, hosted at Texas A&M University, was filled with teams composed of state-ranked swimmers and Olympic-bound water polo players. The Alamo Heights girls represented their team and school proudly. They lost to Flower Mound and Cypress Creek, who went on to win the tournament, but there was not a team with greater spirit or heart at the tournament than AHHS.
Alamo Heights High School Rugby One of Few in Texas
Alamo Heights High School offers an array of extracurricular activities and options for students, each with its own season and fan base. One relatively new club, Rugby, is making strides at AHHS and across the nation. AHHS is the only high school in San Antonio and the surrounding area to offer the sport of rugby to students. This began about 10 years ago, after rocketry teacher Colin Lang, a former Canadian player and coach, realized an interest from students. Inspired to share the fun and team building provided by the sport, he started the Alamo Heights club.
The club and team have grown over the years through Lang’s experience and leadership, the dedication of parents, generous support provided by the Alamo Heights Mule Team and the love of the game by players. The team kicked off the 2016 season with “Ruggapalooza” in Houston, featuring teams from across the state in 15’s and 7’s matches in a one-day event tournament.
The season continued matching Alamo Heights with nationally ranked teams from throughout Texas to include well-established programs like Houston’s St Pius Panthers, St. Thomas Eagles, Lamar rugby and the Katy Barbarians. AHHS rugby traveled to Corpus Christi to take on the Sharks and is set to wrap up the season in Austin, competing with Leander/Cedar Park, Westlake and Vandegrift. The season finale included an alumni game and end-of-season awards that honored the following: Stephen Resendez, Rugby Spirit award, Zach Seidel, Best Rugby Back; Julian C. Perales, Best Rugby Forward; and Zach Seidel, Rugby MVP.
“Rugby is a lot of fun! As a player, you are constantly in motion. It is a fast-paced, hard- hitting game that is 90 minutes long consisting of two fourty minute-halves, with no timeouts and only a 10-minute half -time. All players play both defense and offense at any given time. Everyone has a specific position and role to play, but depending on where the ball is played, any player can end up supporting another in a ruck or with an offensive carry toward a try,” says senior player Julian Perales. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to play all four years of high school,” commented senior Zach Seidel. “I have really grown in my knowledge of the game and am excited about the opportunities that are provided in college to continue playing this sport.”
AHHS’ Boys Varsity Soccer Coach Bruce Fink Earns 500th Win
Alamo Heights High School boys varsity soccer coach Bruce Fink has earned his 500th win at Alamo Heights. He is AHHS’s first soccer coach, earning two state titles and over 500 career wins. Fink was recently inducted into the Texas Association of Soccer Coaches Hall of Fame for his lifetime commitment to students.
Athletic director Gene Phillips says, “Bruce Fink has been the backbone of the Alamo Heights athletic program. He truly cares about kids, as is evident in the character of his players and those who have played under his leadership. He has earned numerous accolades during his tenure, providing amazing leadership to his teams over the course of 32 seasons.” AHHS boy’s soccer assistant Sergio Alcala added, “Bruce has been a tremendous mentor; as a coach, a teacher and as a human being. I thought I knew the game of soccer. I thought I knew kids when I first arrived at Heights 10 years ago. My education had just begun then, and every day I learn something new from him.”
By Emma Hodgson