Sophomore rises up to varsity water polo

September 23, 2013 — by Andrew Jiang

The score was tied 6-6. One minute and 30 seconds were left on the clock. Playing press defense against the other team, sophomore Mason Lee anticipated Sleepy Hollow Aquatic’s shot and immediately started sprinting to the other side of the pool.

The score was tied 6-6. One minute and 30 seconds were left on the clock. Playing press defense against the other team, sophomore Mason Lee anticipated Sleepy Hollow Aquatic’s shot and immediately started sprinting to the other side of the pool. 
With no one within three meters of him, Lee picked up the ball and skipped it underneath the goalie’s arm. With his shot, Santa Clara Valley (SCV) Water Polo Club took a 7-6 lead at the 2013 Water Polo Junior Olympics in Hawaii.
Lee is the starting utility for the boys’ varsity water polo team. He started playing water polo five years ago because his dad used to play and wanted Lee to try it out.
“I’ve liked water polo since the start. It’s always been fun, and I’ve never thought about quitting before,” Lee said. “My favorite part about water polo is the team aspect and how everyone depends on each other to do well.”
According to Lee’s teammate, junior James Guzzo, Lee is dedicated to the game.
“Mason is one of the hardest working guys on the team,” Guzzo said. “I can tell he’s always putting his best effort into practice and games, and I really respect that.”
His parents fully support his water polo, and make sure he pushes himself to his full potential. They frequently come to Lee’s games to cheer him on.
“My parents are really serious about me going to water polo [practice and games] because I’ve spent so many years playing,” Lee said.
After winning six out of nine games at Junior Olympics, Lee noticed a significant improvement in his water polo skills.
“I improved my awareness, shot and defense,” Lee said. “Most importantly, I feel way more confident in my game.”
When the school season is over, Lee plays for SCV. SCV competes at a national level, and Lee frequently plays opponents such as Stanford’s club team.
The school team practices Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, and immediately after school until 5 p.m. every weekday. Boys’ varsity water polo coach Courtney Crase said she can see the commitment and talent of Lee.
“Mason is multifaceted in terms of water polo and takes the time to read the opposing player. He anticipates the next move, is a fast swimmer and has a great shot,” Crase said. “Mason is a huge asset to the team. ”
Lee also likes the team’s chances this year.
“We have a lot of versatile players on the team and our team chemistry is good,” Lee said. “I feel very confident about making CCS this year.”
Thinking down the road, Lee’s long-term goal for water polo is to compete at the college level.
“I know I can be good enough to play in college,” Lee said. “I just need to continue to work hard at practice.”