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PLAYOFF PROFILES : Richeson Shot Hard, Sure

When Chris Richeson takes aim, opponents cringe.

And for good reason.

Richeson, the second-leading scorer on Royal High’s water polo team, has a shot that has been clocked at 53 m.p.h., earning him the title of “Top Gun” at a Junior Olympics competition last summer.

Tall (6 feet 4), rangy and left-handed, Richeson is virtually unstoppable once he is able to face the goal.

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“Goalies are used to guarding on the left side,” Richeson said. “So a lot of the times when I shoot, I’m shooting at the empty side of the goal.” And with plenty of zip.

No wonder Richeson’s offerings have found the back of the net 83 times this season for the Highlanders (23-4), the top-ranked team in Southern Section Division IV.

“He is finishing the season as one of our most-consistent players,” said Coach Steve Snyder, whose Highlanders will meet Dos Pueblos tonight at 6 in the quarterfinals at UC Santa Barbara. “He is very knowledgeable [about] the game and hasn’t had a bad game since I can’t remember when.”

Richeson, a junior, is a three-year starter for Royal, which recently won its 15th consecutive Marmonte League title. When not scoring himself, he often sets the table for someone else.

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“You always have to look for a teammate,” Richeson said. “You score a lot more [when you’re the only weapon] but it’s more fun with balance.”

Snyder has taken note of Richeson’s unselfishness, saying, “He’s really becoming more of a complete player.”

At both ends of the pool. As good as an offensive player as he is, Richeson prefers playing defense.

“I like everything about the game,” Richeson said. “But overall, team defense is my favorite part.”

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Snyder finds Richeson’s attitude pleasingly typical.

“He’s a water polo junkie,” Snyder said. “He usually has intelligent things to say about the game. He’s the kind of kid who loves to play.”


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