For most high school water polo coaches, having one player recruited to play for a prestigious university out of a single graduating class is a memorable accomplishment. Having five out for an entire career is just as noteworthy.
But five or more from a single graduating class is bordering on the edge of unbelievable. Yet, that is exactly what Menlo School boys’ coach Jack Bowen has done this year as five seniors from the team have officially committed to Division I programs in the fall.
“It’s definitely a source of pride to send on five recruits to top schools,” Bowen said, and if he sounds a little nonchalant about it he can be forgiven. In 2006, six seniors from that Knights team were recruited to play college water polo.
This year’s squad includes four starters, including the starting goalie, and the team’s backup goalie. It is also a team that rolled to the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division title before capturing a Central Coast Section title in the fall.
“It’s very rare to see a backup goalie get recruited at all,” Bowen said of senior Jacob Dorn, who is heading off to John Hopkins this fall. “That is to his credit that he would keep himself ready to play, even though backup goalies rarely get in, and to attract enough attention to be recruited.”
Team captain Jack Finch will be heading for the Naval Academy.
“Navy will be a great fit for him,” Bowen said. “This year was the first time our team voted for just one team captain. That speaks a lot about him.”
John Holland-McCowan, who broke his own school record for ejections earned against an opponent this year, will play at Harvard while the Knights’ starting goalie, Keegan Williams, will be off to Bucknell. Kyle Bowman rounds out Menlo’s Fab Five and will be at MIT.
“Kyle is a very bright player, perfect for MIT,” Bowen said.
Bowen credited his team’s sense of coming together as a team at all times as the foundation of their individual and team success.
“To see these guys take a genuine ownership of what they are doing and the amount of fun they have while working hard is something else,” Bowen said. “We have some grueling workouts and training. They all take it very seriously and have a lot of trust in each other.”
Bowen sees the beginnings of this group’s success dating back to the 2006 squad.
“I see this whole program as one big extended family,” Bowen said. “The 2006 group came in and worked with this group in their freshman year. This group is looking forward to working with a great group of eighth-graders we’re expecting to come in later this year. That has helped us be this successful.”
Which means that Bowen, a former goalie himself, could be looking at a very remarkable hat trick about this time in 2015 by getting a third entire graduating class of players signed up for college water polo.