Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Brooke is being inducted into RHS Hall of Fame!!!!

Brooke Vessey, ‘Braga Boys’ among latest to be inducted into Redlands High School Hall of Fame

Redlands High School 12th annual Athletic Hall of Fame Induction
When: Thursday, Oct. 2
Where: Orton Center, University of Redlands
Inductees: Brook Vessey, class of 2007; Sami Grisafe, class of 2003; Red (Richard) Simmons, class of 1956; Dan Finfrock, class of 1964; Wayne Braga, class of 1951; Dennis Braga, class of 1973; Matt Braga, class of 1976
REDLANDS — Two female athletes and a father and son are among the latest inductees into the Redlands High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
The 12th annual induction ceremony is set for Oct. 2 in the Orton Center on the campus of the University of Redlands.
The field of inductees is as impressive as there has been in any of the 11 previous classes.
“The accomplishments is just amazing,” Hall of Famer Hank Mercado said. “I’m working on the plaques and I am having such a difficult time because of all the accomplishments. There are so many. I can’t believe it.”
Mercado said the Hall of Fame committee went through the usual selection process.
“It took us several months,” Mercado said. “We had to have the bios and people had to make recommendations. We had to do the research. It took us about three months for us to make a decision and to take a vote.”
It will be the first for the Hall of Fame to feature a father and son induction. Father Wayne Braga (class of 1951) was a three-sport athlete in football, baseball and track. Son Matt Braga (class of 1976) played football and track.
Sami Grisafe, a 2003 graduate, played football for the Terriers and then gained international acclaim as a women’s professional football player. She guided her team to the IFAF Women’s World Championship victory. Grisafe has rewritten the record book during near-decadelong career in women’s professional football.
Dan Finfrock (Class of 1964) played football and baseball at RHS and went on to coach Arrowhead Christian Academy to five CIF championship finals.
Brooke Vessey (Class of 2007) is the second in her family to be inducted into the RHS Hall of Fame. Her sister Jamie is already in the Hall. Brooke Vessey was a standout in water polo and swimming, she was named the 2007 CIF Division 5 Player of the Year in water polo.
Red (Richard) Simmons (Class of 1956), stood out in football and baseball. But he went on to excel as a professional softball player and is a member of the National Softball Hall of Fame.
Reservations for the dinner and ceremony at the Orton Center at the University of Redlands can be purchased by sending a check for $45 per person to: RHS Hall of Fame, 453 Cajon St., Redlands 92373.

Link to article:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Club Water Polo Wins National Title

Club Water Polo Wins National Title

SDSU defeated Michigan in sudden death to claim the title.

The team celebrating after the big win.
The San Diego State University Women's Club Water Polo team recently defeated rivals from across the country to become the Collegiate Water Polo Association Club National Champions.
The team played Arizona State University in the semi-final game to advance to the championship game against Michigan. SDSU defeated Michigan 10-9 in sudden death overtime.
“This win not only represents this group of females but also the entire university and San Diego area," said Jamie Cassidy, the team’s head coach. "The team really came together this past year by fundraising to pay for pool time and travel costs, working hard in and out of the pool and by lifting one another up even when things got tough in the championship game.”
Aztec all-stars

The team was led by team MVP Bailey Wickliffe, who fouled out late in the fourth quarter of the championship game.
“The team stepped up and played together in those overtime periods against Michigan, I’m so proud of their hard work all season to be ready for this moment," Cassidy said.
The team played as a unit in the championship game. With Morgan Klingfus— the Collegiate Water Polo Association National Player of the Year — in goal, the team stopped Michigan from scoring in two overtime periods.
After heading to a final sudden death overtime period, Meghan Harder scored the winning goal, making SDSU the 2014 CWPA Club National Champions.

“I’m so proud of my teammates — a club program is a lot of work," said Natalie Parker, club president. "Teammates have to fundraise, do community service for the City of San Diego and represent SDSU. It all came together, winning the championship is a memory I will never forget.”
On the horizon
Cassidy attributes the success of this year's squad to the commitment and dedication of the players.
"This year we had enough girls to have both an A and B squad," she said. "There was a lot more competition and a lot of talent, and that really raised the level of play."
Fortunately for the squad, only three seniors will be leaving, meaning the majority of the team will return for the next season. 
"There is a lot of great chemistry between the girls," Cassidy said. "They have so much respect for each other and they all play so well together. It definitely showed this season."
About SDSU club sports

The Women’s Club Water Polo team is housed within the SDSU Sport Club program.
SDSU Sports Clubs consist of 19 competitive teams. Each club team is developed, organized and managed by students with guidance from the Intramural and Sport Club Coordinator and the Intramural and Sport Club Supervisor.

Each club team's success is determined by the collective efforts and organization of the student athletes. Sport clubs enable students to enhance their collegiate experience and serve an excellent setting for the development of athletic skills, student leadership and social outlets

Monday, May 12, 2014

SDSU Women Win Club Water Polo Championship

SDSU women win club water polo championship

SDSU women win club water polo championship
The No. 2 seeded San Diego State University women’s water polo club team, coached by Solana Beach resident Jamie Cassidy, left, topped the University of Michigan May 4 to become the school’s first National Collegiate Club Champions. 
REGION — The San Diego State University women’s water polo team topped the University of Michigan 10-9 in a double-overtime, sudden-death game May 4 to become the school’s first National Collegiate Club Champions.
Meghan Harder scored the game-winning goal with less than 7 seconds on the clock in the final game of a three-day tournament in Geneva, Ohio.
“It’s still kind of sinking in,” coach Jamie Cassidy, a Solana Beach resident, said the day after returning home.
It was the Aztecs’ second appearance in the national club-team championships since joining the Collegiate Water Polo Association six years ago. Last year the team placed fifth, losing to California Polytechnic State University.
When Cassidy began coaching four seasons ago, there were 10 girls on the roster, and the team finished “in the middle of the pack” in the CWPA’s Pacific Coast Division.
“That first year was pretty rough,” she said.
This season, with 21 players, Cassidy was able to roster two teams and is the sole coach for both. “We’ve really grown in size and dedication,” she said. The girls were undefeated in league play and had only one loss in a tournament during the approximately 20-game season.
“I knew right away we had a very good shot at going to the championship tournament and going deep,” Cassidy said. “But you don’t know about the other teams you’ll be playing.”
Cassidy, who was named coach of the year for SDSU club sports, said she had about seven girls who could have played Division 1 but opted not to for various reasons.
“They really advanced everyone to the next level,” she said. “That pushed everyone to work harder.”
She said camaraderie is also a key to the team’s success.
“They are all friends. They all live together,” Cassidy said. “When anyone wins (an award) the girls are so excited for each other. There’s no jealousy and no one’s upset. They realize they needed each other for this to happen. Their one common goal was to win it all. It didn’t matter who scored the winning goal.”
The roster includes Morgan Klingfus, Kathryn Enstad, Nina Escobedo, Jessie Espera, Madeline Schwartz, Bailey Wickliffe, Mary Abary, Meghan Harder, Kelli Boling, Tara DeRosier, Kathryn Andrews, Natalie Parker, Addison Gosslein, Jenny Waters, Allison Tester, Carolina Conway, Kim Fraisse, Nicole Ryder, Agy Socha, Bridget Poland and Allie Jackson.
All are Californians except Tester, who is from Texas. San Diegans include Escobedo, DeRosier, Andrews, Waters and Ryder. Several coach at area high schools such as Canyon Crest Academy and Scripps Ranch and Grossmont College. Parker referees high school games.
Cassidy said the athletes play to stay in shape, meet new people — especially the freshmen — or make lifelong friends. Her goal is to have them look back and realize the benefit of being part of the team.
“I want to help them grow,” she said. “I try to help them with internships so they leave as well-rounded individuals. I want them to know they have someone in their corner when they get out of college.”
To that end Cassidy plans to bring in guest speakers — most likely female professionals — to guide the players with future career goals.
“I wish I had something like that in college,” she said.
Cassidy currently works at Pear Sports, a Solana Beach company that produces a “mobile training intelligence” system.
She coaches at night and is paid, but not a lot. She played water polo and swam in high school and college, but the sport is more of a hobby now, she said.
“I enjoy it. The money’s not important. I just want to give back,” she said.
The team receives a small stipend from the university, but club members, unlike Division 1 athletes, pay to play. The cost is $250 for the first semester and $300 for the second semester, which is club season for women.
Teams don’t know until about three weeks before the tournament if they will be going so the last-minute plane tickets were pricey — $780 each. Other expenses included hotel rooms, transportation, food and an entry fee. The ladies had to come up with at least $250 each.
Fundraising efforts took in $10,000 and included donations from parents and Division 1 water polo players.
“Some girls didn’t go because of work, the money and finals,” Cassidy said. “But I don’t want money to be a problem.”
With only two graduating seniors, Cassidy is looking forward to another successful season next year and is hoping to secure sponsors to help fund future trips Ohio.
Anyone interested in sponsorship information can contact Cassidy at
Huge thank you to Bianca at the Coast News for writing an article about the team! The girls and I really appreciate it.