Certain bonuses are attached to winning a Prep League title and a CIF Southern Section championship.
One such extra came at league awards time for the Pasadena Poly boys’ water team.
The Division V champion Panthers garnered seven accolades on the Prep League list, the most of any team, including that of the league’s most valuable player, which was awarded to junior utility player Spencer Rogers.
“This is really a huge honor and I couldn’t have done it without [Coach] Ryan [Katsuyama] or any of the guys,” Rogers said. “The other guys on this team deserve as much attention as I do.”
There was some question as to who would who step up for the Panthers after the graduation of goalie Colin Woolway (Harvard) and driver Henry Pray (UCLA).
Yet, Rogers responded by finishing with 117 goals, 57 steals, 51 drawn ejections and 20 assists in earning the same award that Pray did a year earlier.
“To be mentioned with those guys is unbelievable,” Rogers said. “You’re talking about the two biggest guys in Poly history and I’m humbled to be considered with them.”
Rogers scored two keys goals in the fourth quarter of the Panthers’ stunning 12-10 come-from-behind victory over top-seeded Glendale.
The championship was the first for the Panthers in three straight title-game visits.
“It’s special to win a championship. I was on last year’s team where we thought it was going to happen and it didn’t,” Rogers said. “I think this year, we played even more as a team than last year and we were able to get that championship.”
Seniors Kelly McGee, Chris McWillams and junior Brock Hudnut joined Rogers on the first team.
McGee finished with 39 goals, 42 steals and 30 assists and had the task as the team’s two-meter defender in taking on the opposing team’s best attacker.
McWilliams shined in the championship match with four goals and three assists and finished with 59 goals, 47 steals and 31 assists.
Hudnut played all over for Prep League champion Poly (26-2) and tallied a school record 117 assists that accompanied his 54 goals and 38 steals.
“Chris is our ‘Mr. CIF’ and had huge efforts whenever we needed them,” Poly Coach Ryan Katsuyama said. “Kelly is a player who is more than just his stats and is very underrated. As for Brock, he obviously had a special year in setting a record by more than 30 assists.”
Poly’s second-team selections were junior goalie Josh Ball (266 saves versus 162 goals allowed) and junior driver Dennis Grover (60 assists, 47 steals, 45 goals and 23 ejections drawn).
“We had a special year for several reasons, with maybe one of the more important reasons being the great chemistry on this team,” Katsuyama said. “There weren’t egos. The guys genuinely cared about each other and worked their best.”
There was an additional local to earn a Prep League honor as La Salle senior Robert Hanson was his team’s lone honoree.