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Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week

The following article was posted on October 2nd, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 30 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 30

Walker Armstrong

St. Joseph High School water polo

BY KRISTINA SEWELL


WALKER ARMSTRONG
PHOTO BY KRISTINA SEWELL

Walker Armstrong is making waves in the pool, and it’s only the beginning of the season.

A junior water polo player from St. Joseph High School, Armstrong is taking the reins as lead scorer for the Knights. When St. Joseph water polo coach Brandon Gonzalez first met Armstrong, the thing that stood out to him about the athlete was his size.

“I thought, ‘that’s a big kid,’” Gonzalez said. The coach added that Gonzalez is built stocky and comes in at 6-foot-4, the perfect build for a water polo athlete.

Gonzalez said that with his strong arm, Armstrong scores two to three goals each game on average.

“Armstrong is raw talent; he can shoot from anywhere in the pool and be effective,” Gonzalez said.

According to Armstrong, this season marks his third year as a water polo player. One Way water polo coach Charlie Bell first introduced him to the sport.

“Coach Bell taught me a lot about the game,” Armstrong said. “It was fun to learn from him. I learned teamwork is most important.”

As a captain, Armstrong said he tries to be a leader in practice by bringing everyone together.

“Communication in the water is important and so is working together as a team,” he said.

The junior said his personal goal for this year is to improve at the two-meter set position. The Knight’s toughest competition, according to Armstrong, will come from Righetti, Arroyo Grande, and San Luis Obispo high schools.

Though Armstrong admittedly uses water polo as cross training for his primary sport of baseball (he’s a pitcher), the athlete loves the intensity in the pool.

“It’s fast-paced and everything is at the surface. It’s like soccer at eye-level,” he said. “The endurance it takes is the most challenging.”

Coach Gonzalez is excited to see where this season takes Armstrong, adding that the athlete continues to work hard and build his skill set at every practice.

“As he gets faster and more comfortable in the water, he will be a beast,” Gonzalez said. “He is learning to be more vocal and helps the other kids. Armstrong is becoming a well-rounded captain.”

Gonzalez added that Armstrong also brings a certain “goofiness” and charisma to practice.

“He is a spark in the pool. He can channel my frustration into something positive,” Gonzalez said. “He is a good kid to have and we are lucky to have him.”