Senior wins prestigious water polo award

November 14, 2018 — by Andrew Li and Isaac Le

Senior Matthew Kuo was recently recognized as a 2018 USA Water Polo Academic All-American. He was one of 1,061 winners of the award, and one of 847 outstanding honors winners.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all. At first, I thought that it’s an award that is given to a lot of people,” Kuo said. “When I actually got the award, I realized what a big deal this was because our names were published in a lot of water polo magazines. Even though a couple hundred people won the award, I am still proud of myself.”

This award requires the applicants to participate in a national water polo event, such as the Junior Olympics or the Olympic Development Program during the summer.

Also, athletes must have a 3.60 GPA for the entire 2017-2018 academic year and a 4.00 GPA or higher for outstanding honors.

In order to receive the award, Kuo participated in the Junior Olympics qualifiers and qualified for the Junior Olympics, but was not able to play in the Junior Olympics because he was out of town.  

Matthew’s brother, freshman Marcus Kuo, who is also a member of the boys’ varsity water polo team, said he was proud and excited for his brother.

“The award has been a goal of his since last year and I was happy to hear that he got it,” Marcus said.

In addition to participating in the qualifiers, Kuo also had five weeks of summer practice with the San Jose Express Water Polo Club, which he played with for a few months prior.

During the summer he played water polo games during the weekends for almost the whole day, and had practice Monday through Friday.

During the school year, Kuo felt the time commitment of water polo, with two hour practices and two games a week while playing with San Jose Express, in addition to the regular school practices and games. Along the way, he learned valuable time management skills, which he applied to the rigorous classes he takes, such as Physics and AP Calculus, while keeping up with the intense varsity water polo schedule.

“When balancing school life with water polo, I plan out what schoolwork I'm planning to do until I have water polo practice, then after practice I do whatever homework I have left,” Kuo said.

Kuo has already received two recruiting letters from colleges, but he does not plan to play water polo in college.

Despite deciding not to pursue water polo in college, Kuo still appreciates the happiness and life skills he received from playing the sport.

“I learned a lot about leadership, teamwork and responsibility, and I really liked hanging out with my teammates during practices after school,” Kuo said.