Water polo to hold Hawk Classic Tournament


photo by Kate Knauff

The Hebron/Lewisville boys JV team tries to block a pass by the opposing team. This is the Hebron Swim and Dive team’s second year to sponsor water polo. “We always played water polo as a game during the swim off-season,” senior Quinten Frank said. “We would play water polo, ultimate frisbee and anything just to have fun. The team really liked to play water polo so we adopted it. The team is mainly just swimmers, but there were a couple people who came who were not swimmers.”

The Hawk Classic Water Polo Tournament will be held on March 7 at Aquatics Center East in The Colony.

The tournament will host 22 water polo teams from 10 North Texas high schools. The first game will start at 8 a.m. and the final game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. 

 “We’ve been preparing for the upcoming tournament for the past week,” junior Audrey Childers said. “Even though we are playing some pretty good teams, I think we should do well.”

The team competed in the Flower Mound Tournament on March 1 and won three out of six games. Admission to the Hawk Classic Tournament will be $3 for students and $5 for adults. Hebron feeder elementary and middle school students will be granted free admission if they wear their elementary or middle school spirit wear to the tournament.

“We’ve looked at the teams we are going to play and planned accordingly,” coach Donzie Lilly said. “We’ve looked at what they are going to plan for so that we can counteract that and really just get in the right mindset to go out there, execute the plans and win some games.”

This will be the Hebron Swim and Dive team’s second season to sponsor water polo. 

“We were so horrible last year,” senior Quinten Frank said. “This year, we actually have been winning games when last year we didn’t win any. Our coaches got a lot better. They figured out a lot of things over the summer and they’ve applied that.”

Girls JV will play at 11:20 a.m. and 2:40 p.m., boys JV will play at 10:30 a.m. and 12:10 p.m. and varsity boys will play at 1 p.m., 4:20 p.m. and 6 p.m.

“We’ve been doing lots of out of water workouts, running, weight lifting and aerobic [workouts],” Frank said. “When we are in the water, we do water polo drills and scrimmages.”

Since UIL approved water polo as an official pilot sport in October of 2019 for the 2021-2022 school year, water polo teams in North Texas have grown from three high schools in 2009 to 45 in 2020. Water polo is the first sport added to the UIL since 1997.

“[When water polo was approved by UIL, it] changed the culture and has grown the team together,” Lilly said. “In swimming, you mainly compete individually unless you are in relay, but water polo is much more of a team mentality. I think the team has grown closer and focuses more on working together rather than focusing on individual aspects.”

The team did not have enough boys for a boys JV team or enough girls for a girls varsity team, so they combined with Lewisville to make a boys JV team and a varsity girls team.

“We wanted to give the girls an opportunity to play in the girls division so we combined our girls teams together,” Lilly said. “The boys who don’t make the varsity roster will play with the Lewisville boys team because they are also a little short on guys over there. Essentially, we have three teams: Lewisville/Hebron boys, Lewisville/Hebron girls and then Hebron Varsity.”