Water polo has never been a high priority at Chapman, a school without a pool, but first-year Coach Rod Hormell hopes to make some changes.
Hormell, the Panthers' third coach in four seasons, is a self-styled water polo junkie. During the 1970s, he played for Marina High School, Golden West College, UCLA and briefly with the U.S. national team.
Hormell, 37, remains a coach and player at the masters level--in which his team won the 1992 world championship--and accepted the job at Chapman knowing water polo's place in the hierarchy of the athletic department.
"I'm in it because I love water polo," he said. "If there's a game within a hour from me, I'll get to it."
It also helped that his place of business--he owns an insurance agency--is within a block of the campus. Hormell inherited a team that was 9-20 last year under Jon Pendleton, who resigned after two seasons to take over the program at University High School.
The roster lists 11 players, but Hormell says only four field players have the skills to compete at the college level. Sophomores Jason Gaw, Miles Takahashi and Anthony Hustler are all solid drivers and Chad Roberts, who played at Marina and on two Golden West College State championship teams, defends the opponents' two-meter player.
Roberts has yet to allow a goal by the opposing holeman this season, Hormell said.
The Panthers (4-6 ) are usually competitive during the early part of games, before they tire and opponents discover their weaknesses.
Hormell is trying to mitigate that problem with grueling workouts.
"These guys didn't know what a morning workout was all about," he said. "They swam more in two days than they did all last year and I'm not a swimming coach. I don't even like swimming."
This weekend, Chapman is playing host to a water polo tournament at Corona del Mar High School. In the past, the tournament has been at the Panthers' usual home pool at Orange High, but Hormell wanted the games in a 30-meter facility.
He said playing in the longer pool is necessary to help teams from smaller schools to improve enough to compete against the traditional powers.
The nine-team tournament features Bucknell, Redlands, Claremont-Mudd, Occidental, Santa Clara, Pomona-Pitzer, Loyola Marymount and Whittier.
The Chapman soccer teams will have a home again starting next week. The Panthers have been using Glover Stadium in Anaheim as a home field while the on-campus stadium's field was growing in after being re-sodded last month.
The men's team will play host to Concordia Oct. 16 and the women's and men's teams will play Cal Lutheran at home Oct. 18.
Both teams have been faring well lately. The men, ranked No. 8 in the west region of NCAA Division II, are unbeaten in their last six games, winning five and tying UC San Diego, ranked No. 7 in NCAA Division III, 2-2, Sunday.
The women (7-3-2) have won or tied four of their last five matches, including a 2-1 victory over Claremont Monday and a 1-0 victory over Pomona-Pitzer Wednesday.
Southern California College is playing host to its annual cross-country invitational on the Newport Back Bay course this weekend and Coach Bryan Wilkins expects the biggest field ever.
Ten schools, including Concordia, Chapman and Whittier, are sending teams and Wilkins says SCC has a good chance of winning both the men's and women's titles.
The Vanguards have their deepest women's team. Nikee Pool, a sophomore from Kansas, set a personal best of 18 minutes 32 seconds for five kilometers at a meet in Hawaii last month. SCC has three other women who have run under 21 minutes: Debra Deming, a junior transfer from Irvine Valley College; Heather Salisbury, a sophomore from Orange Lutheran and Stacey Cabral, a senior who took a season off last year.
Concordia's Genevieve Graff-Ermeling, who ran 17:38 to win the Concordia Eagle 5000 road race Saturday, will be among the individual favorites.
The SCC men are led by Jason Schaefer, a sophomore from Michigan, Tim Hardin, a sophomore who transferred from Houston, and Dan Palmer, a freshman from Ruth, Calif.
Last week's decision by the NAIA to scrap its 32-district system and strengthen conferences means the end of the NAIA District 3 men's and women's basketball tournaments. The champions of the Golden State Athletic Conference tournaments will receive automatic berths to the national tournament next spring. . . . Chad Kemmerer, former Westmont player and son of Laker assistant coach Chet Kemmerer, has been hired as an assistant to Concordia Coach Greg Marshall. . . . The Southern California College men's soccer team, after starting the Golden State Athletic Conference season 2-0, has lost three games in a row, to Westmont, 5-1, Fresno Pacific, 1-0, and Point Loma Nazarene, 3-0. . . . Ryan Bean scored two second-half goals to give Pacific Christian a 3-3 tie with UC Riverside Tuesday. Greg Gunderson had 16 saves for the Royals (5-3-1). . . . Several spots remain for the Chapman athletic department golf tournament Monday at Newport Beach Country Club. The best-ball format tournament starts at 11 a.m. The $250 entry fee includes greens and cart fees, driving range privileges, tee prizes, lunch, awards dinner and silent and live auctions. Proceeds go to the Chapman athletic programs.