Natalie Kaplanyan and Makena Walklett have proven to be a proficient duo for the upstart Flintridge Prep girls’ water polo team the past couple of seasons.
It’s translated into the program evolving and experiencing plenty of success, especially in the playoffs as of late. After missing the postseason for more than 15 straight seasons, the Rebels have escaped the doldrums to become a burgeoning squad.
Kaplanyan and Walklett paved the way for Flintridge Prep to enjoy another fantastic season in 2020, as the two players were bestowed with All-CIF Southern Section Division VI first-team recognition after the CIF office unveiled its first-team selections across all seven divisions Monday.
It marked the first time Kaplanyan and Walklett picked up prestigious postseason hardware.
Flintridge Prep finished 18-12, 9-3 in the Prep League for second place. Flintridge Prep advanced to the division championship match before suffering a 6-4 loss to No. 3 Marina at William Woolett Jr. Aquatic Center in Irvine.
“They both were outstanding and brought a lot to our team,” said Flintridge Prep coach Andrew Phillips, who piloted the Rebels to a second consecutive CIF championship match. “Natalie and Makena found lots of ways to contribute and they played so well in the regular season and playoffs and I’m so happy for them to get All-CIF.”
Kaplanyan, a junior utility, finished with a team-high 130 goals.
“You could put her anywhere under any circumstance,” said Phillips, whose team reached the Division VII title match in 2019. “Natalie is somebody we can count on all of the time and it comes from her years of playing experience.
“She’s the captain of our team and she’s got lots of knowledge about the game.”
Walklett, a senior hole/guard, contributed 55 goals.
“The amazing thing about Makena is that she played basically the whole season with a shoulder injury and she always found a way to come through in the clutch,” Phillips said. “She always looked for ways to improve and she did just that.”
Emma Marsh of Marina was named the division’s player of the year.