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The Paw Print

The Paw Print

Athlete of the Issue: Kaylin Yagura

Jason Mitchell

“Even when she was sick and sounded like she was dying, she still came out to help us win, and she dominated the middle,” freshman Sam Golden said of water polo co-captain senior Kaylin Yagura. Neither pounding rain or winter illness can stop Yagura from dominating the pool and striking fear into the hearts of Poly’s opponents.

The team, comfortably in first place in league with a 7-0 record, has seen little challenge in their opponents this year. They’ve crushed the other teams by as many as 14 points, including a 13-8 win against Flintridge Prep and a 15-1 win against Westridge.

After years of competitive swimming, Yagura began playing water polo in seventh grade and has seen nothing but improvement since then. Her coaches praised her work ethic and eagerness to learn, even as she became a senior member and consistent starter of the team.

“Her knowledge of the game has grown exponentially,” said head coach Sean Grab. “She has become a much more detail-oriented athlete and takes a lot of care in the things she is doing. She values every opportunity to learn and get better.”

As a player, Yagura’s speed and movement compliment her high water polo IQ and unwavering tenacity. A dangerous combination of fast, strong and determined, Yagura is a tough opponent.

“She brings such a fierce and steady presence to the playing field,” junior Ariely Aragon commented. Yagura has proved her commitment to and love of the sport again and again, even in an unfamiliar position. This year, she played center for the first time and immediately stepped up to the challenge.

“It’s the hardest position in the pool, yet she is excelling at it,” Grab said. “Kaylin is incredibly fast, and versatile. She can get up and down the pool very well and also grapple and compete in the more physical elements of the game.”

Her records only confirm this: Yagura has 28 goals, three assists and five steals this season alone.

Beyond her dominating technical skill, Yagura’s perseverance and dependability have aided her in rising to be one of the team’s co-captains. Her role is well-deserved — and not just because of the homemade snacks she’s been known to bring to games.

Sophomore Amelie Salette said, “Even outside the pool, Kaylin’s leadership shines through. Her thoughtful and supportive personality has helped our team bond together on a personal level that’s apparent during games.”

Grab also celebrated her leadership skills, describing her as a second coach in the water and a great role-model for her teammates.

Though the team’s season recently came to an end, Yagura’s impact on the girls water polo program has not.

“The team next year will most definitely not be the same without Kaylin,” Aragon added.

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