Glendale, La Cañada High's best water polo players earn SoCal, national honors

While the high school boys’ water polo season is long done, three area players were recently recognized for their accomplishments by being named to either the 2013 All-Southern California or All-American team or in two instances, both.

La Cañada High’s Peter Loakes and Glendale’s Arman Momdzhyan were tabbed to both all-star lists, while Nitro Manuk Piloyan was also selected to the Southern California squad.

“This was actually one of my goals heading into this year’s high school season,” Momdzhyan said. “I knew about the award because last year I was an honorable mention. I tried hard to achieve most of my goals and this was one of them.”

There wasn’t much Momdzhyan and Glendale didn’t accomplish this season.

En route to winning a third straight undefeated Pacific League title, the Nitros finished with a 22-6 record this past season and captured the program’s inaugural CIF Southern Section Division V championship and the school’s first CIF crown in any sport since 1989.

Momdzhyan was Glendale’s catalyst, scoring a team- and area-best 169 goals, which concluded a three-year run of 451 goals.

For his efforts, Momdzhyan was named the Pacific League Most Valuable Player, the All-CIF Southern Section Division V Player of the Year and the All-Area Player of the Year.

Now, Momdzhyan can add to his illustrious resume the honor of being chosen to the All-Southern California boys’ water polo fourth team and the California-Hawaii boys’ water polo All-American eighth team.

“I feel like I’ve accomplished almost everything I could have asked for,” said Momdzhyan, a senior utility player currently participating on the ORWP Titans club team of Glendale. “I’m ready to move on and prepare to play for a good Division I college.”

Momdzhyan received a total of 55 points on the Southern California ballot, receiving two second-team votes, six third-team votes, three fourth-team votes and four votes apiece for the fifth and sixth teams.

Momdzhyan was also only one of two Pacific League players to be selected to any Southern California team and was the league’s lone All-American.

Joining Momdzhyan in being named to the Southern California squad is Piloyan, a junior hole/guard who tallied 117 goals and who was also named a Pacific League, Division V and All-Area first-team selection.

Piloyan, a three-year contributor for the Nitros, was selected as a sixth-team member on the All-Southern California team. Piloyan received nine sixth-team votes, while receiving one third-team vote and two votes apiece for fourth and fifth teams.

“I didn’t know about the award,” Piloyan said. “I’m kind of surprised about the awards I got this year because I didn’t get that many last year.”

As for Loakes, maybe no area player made as big an impact for his team than did the senior utility player.

Despite breaking in a new coach in Christian Flores, the Spartans didn’t miss a beat in 2013 thanks in part to Loakes.

La Cañada earned a 21-10 overall record and also managed an unbeaten run to a Rio Hondo League championship, while the Spartans qualified to the quarterfinals of the Division III playoffs.

Overall, Loakes tallied 97 goals, 120 steals and 57 assists for the Spartans, which helped merit him a Rio Hondo League Most Valuable Player honor along with a Division III and All-Area first-team selection.

“It’s always great to win awards, but this is not something I earned by myself,” Loakes said. “I had a great team and I think we accomplished more than anyone expected from us.”

Loakes earned 34 points in being picked to the fifth team on the Southern California squad, while he was also a 10th team All-American pick.

Loakes tallied two votes for third team, three votes for the fourth and sixth teams and seven votes for the fifth team.

Loakes was joined on both teams by his biggest rival, South Pasadena’s Pierce Deamer.

“Pierce is such a competitor and I knew that the Rio Hondo League championship would come down to us versus South Pasadena,” Loakes said. “I knew that the Rio Hondo League MVP would be a choice between him and I. It’s always a great competition between us.”

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