Just a four-meter shot from the Southern Oregon coast, Jordan
Thompson found time for recreation in and around Floras Lake.
Thompson, the hulking 6-foot-6, 240-pound La Canada High boys'
water polo player, got the message loud and clear from family members
that he needed to strengthen his legs if he wanted to become a larger
physical presence once the 2004 water polo season began.
So, Thompson retreated to the cozy body of water situated near the
Pacific Ocean and began conditioning. Thompson spent most of August
running four miles around the lake and swimming two miles with the
cool breeze flowing.
Despite absorbing plenty of opponents' elbows that clipped
Thompson's jaw and head throughout three months of matches, Thompson
found a way to outsmart the competition.
The workout regiment proved to be useful for the 16-year-old
Thompson, a junior hole/set who scored an area-best 109 goals and
helped the Spartans advance to the CIF Southern Section Division III
semifinals this season.
For those efforts, the writers and editors of the News-Press and
Leader selected Thompson as the Glendale News-Press and Foothill
Leader All-Area Player of the Year for a second consecutive year.
Thompson, who earned All-CIF first-team honors, and the Spartans
spent most of the season as the top-ranked team in the division
despite playing arguably the toughest schedule in the program's
Matches against Orange County powerhouses like Servite and Villa
Park left Thompson with a greater appreciation for his
"I needed to get quicker and stronger," said Thompson, who helped
La Canada (21-10) win the Rio Hondo League championship and shared
the league's most valuable player award with teammates Devon Borisoff
and Kevin Coyne this season.
"It wasn't going to be anything fancy."
Thompson's voice still resonated with disappointment when he
described the top-seeded Spartans' ouster in the semifinals for a
third straight season. Montebello handed La Canada a 14-9 loss at
Pasadena City College on Nov. 19 before winning a second consecutive
"It was more disappointing losing this year than [in 2003]," said
Thompson, who recorded 62 assists and 25 steals.
"It was devastating to lose, and we learned that we can't back
away from aggression."
But Thompson, who had 75 goals last season, escaped the pool for
the wrestling mat. He chose to become a member of the school's
wrestling team as a heavyweight.
"Wrestling will make me stronger," Thompson said. "I decided in
October to check it out.
"I figured that if I could wrestle on land that I could wrestle in
La Canada Coach Larry Naeve, who has guided the Spartans to three
CIF championships since 1979, said Thompson displayed the temperament
that elite water polo athletes need to succeed.
Naeve chose to have his offense center around Thompson.