By S.J. Cyrus
When you think of Water Polo, the Bronx and New York City are not the first thoughts that come to mind. Despite this, at Fordham, we have one of the best teams in the country. It has been 20 years since the Fordham Water Polo Team has been ranked, but this 2017 season, they are breaking into the top 25 NCAA Men’s Water Polo Rankings.
All too often, football, baseball and basketball get more attention that any other sport. Here at Fordham, we should salute all excellence-including the Ram Water Polo Team. They currently have a 12-6 record, with 4 of the 6 losses coming from other ranked teams.
Water polo is played with six field players conducting offense and defense and a goalkeeper. It is played at a depth of about seven feet so the players’ feet cannot touch the bottom. Swimming is a tough enough task, but doing multiple tasks while swimming shows the resolve and athleticism of these student athletes. The success of this team has been a collective process led by a Gabelli School of Business graduate student from Rome, Massimiliano Mirarchi, and three seniors: Cameron Shewchuck, Gabelli School of Business (GSBRH) ’18, Ethan Vandeventer, Fordham College Rose Hill (FCRH) ’18, and Alex Jahns FCRH ’18. The team is made up of by seven juniors, five sophomores and four freshman who represent current and future leaders of this team in the seasons to come.
“I am very happy to say that the water polo squad will be in great shape, not only after I graduate in May but for years to come,” said current captain Cameron Shewchuck. “We’ve got a lot of young sophomores and freshmen that are all improving at a rapid pace. What’s even better is that the younger classes, including the incoming freshmen, will have very exemplary senior leadership next fall with seven more seniors playing their last season of Division I water polo. Given the team’s culture and motivation I think the sky is the limit for Fordham Water Polo,” Shewchuck said of the future of the team’s leadership.
Collegiate sports incorporate personal growth within young men and women; things in this process take you from an adolescent into your young adulthood. They have witnessed the growth of this young unit and will carry on the experiences from this season to lead the next group of student athletes to continue the success of this season into the future.
“My personal growth began immediately during our freshman campaign as I was thrust into the pool early and often coming off the heels of a 10-year club career. As a freshman, my class had seven players but jobs and other opportunities saw four of those teammates leave our program,” Vandeventer noted. “To be one of the last three seniors with Alex and Cam is an unforgettable experience. We have all grown and developed into different role players on the team but know that after we are gone Fordham water polo is more than up to the challenge of competing with top teams.”
These men have also been battle tested coast to coast, playing in the Navy Invitational in Annapolis, Maryland to the West Coast Gary Troyer Tournament. Sophomore Jake Miller-Tolt, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’20, was a standout player in the West Coast swing tournament, amassing 19 goals and 18 steals during the tournament where Fordham ended with a 2-2 record.
The Rams now enter a tough stretch of home games as the season nears its final in November. If they continue to stay focused and play well, they will where they started-in Annapolis, Maryland, where the Mid Atlantic Water Polo Championship will be hosted. They show by deed that they are a special unit but also by inspiring words from Shewchuck. “In terms of my contributions to my younger teammates, I just hope that I, along with my other senior teammates, have taught them that the team is one big happy family,” the captain said. “You always have to stick up for your brothers in and out of the pool and always pick each other up when someone is down. I feel that the whole team has really grasped that concept and it makes me really proud to have been a part of the team for the last four years, I can’t believe it’s over.”