Point Loma High water polo MVP Rylie Hage is leaving a legacy as she sets her goals for college
The Point Loma High School girls water polo team went undefeated in its 10 Central League games this past season. Coach Brandon Huff says that’s largely due to the efforts of senior goalie Rylie Hage, who was recognized as the season’s all-league Most Valuable Player by its coaches.
“Her ability to lead on and off the pool deck is something that’s transcended throughout the program,” Huff said. “Her leadership has definitely helped with the continued success throughout the year.”
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Hage’s parents said the position of goalie seems well-tailored to her.
“She smiles even when she gets hit in the face,” said her father, Will.
“There’s a certain amount of ‘crazy’ that is needed to play goalie,” Hage agreed.
“You act as a kind of quarterback for the team,” said her mother, Nicole. “She calls out the plays, and anything the coaches say she relays to the team.”
Hage first became involved with water polo in her freshman year at Point Loma High and fell in love with the sport by accident.
She was initially in track and field and golf, and water polo was meant to fill the gap between seasons as a kind of conditioning sport.
“High jump was supposed to be my ‘serious’ sport ... but now I’ve ended up being serious about water polo,” she said.
Her dad reckons the social aspect of water polo clicked for her — something that was missing in golf and high jump.
“The other two sports are more individual engagements,” he said. “Where she really excels is with team sports.”
“That camaraderie with the team, that’s what I fell in love with,” Hage said. “We all hang out after practice, we carpool together, we help each other with homework.”
As much as she found friendship with her teammates, Huff says she has given just as much back to the program.
“Her helping out teammates outside the pool, helping them academically, coordinating those car pools and making sure some of our younger girls who’ve never played before have a ride to and from practice, that’s helped create a lot of the camaraderie in the program,” Huff said. “That spearheading, that close-knit camaraderie is something that’s going to help the program for years to come.”
Hage’s leadership and sociability doesn’t begin and end at the edge of the pool. During the summer, she volunteers at her church’s summer camp, leading younger people through the program’s spiritual activities. She’s also served as president of the poetry club at Point Loma High since her sophomore year.
After graduation, Hage plans to play water polo at San Diego Miramar College.
“They have great coaches at Miramar, and they’re going to guide Rylie in whatever direction she chooses,” Huff said.
Will Hage said Rylie’s top pick was San Diego State University, but the women’s water polo program there already carries six goalies. Miramar currently has one goalie on the women’s team and has a coach specifically for that position.
“Being that she wanted to stay close to home, that was when San Diego State basically came off the table,” Will said.
Rylie says that what excites her most about Miramar are the people involved.
“I got to meet the team a few months ago and they are just so fun to be around,” she said. “Even though we only knew each other for about an hour, I was so excited to be on the team. I think we’re going to be such good friends.”
After a few years at Miramar, she may transfer to San Diego State or one of the University of California schools. But she’ll leave a legacy at Point Loma, Huff said.
“Being involved with it for four years, she’s not only defined herself but helped define the program,” he said. “She has all the characteristics we want to instill in all of our athletes.”