Palisades High Water Polo Team Wins 11th Consecutive City Championship
In a thrilling match on Wednesday night at LA Valley College pool, Palisades High School’s men’s water polo team extended their playoff winning streak to an impressive 42 games by defeating Granada Hills 23-10. This victory secured their 11th consecutive City Championship, a record-breaking achievement in the City Section.
Owen Grant Shines with 12 Goals
Senior pilot Owen Grant was the star of the game, scoring an impressive 12 goals for the Dolphins. Charlie Speiser contributed three goals, while Sean Ellis, Jordan Zaman, and Charlie Shortt each added two goals to secure the victory for the number one seed team, Palisades High School. With this win, Palisades High School’s water polo team now holds the second-longest active championship streak in the City Section, trailing only the men’s tennis team, which has won 14 consecutive titles.
Grant, who scored seven times in the first half, humbly stated, “I wasn’t paying attention at all to how many goals I had. I was planning to focus on assisting my teammates in the second half, but I got a little greedy.”
Highlanders Put Up a Fight
Jared Espinoza of Granada Hills put up a valiant effort, scoring six goals for his team. The Highlanders, the second seed in the tournament, took an early 3-0 lead within the first two minutes of the game and managed to tie the score 4-4 at the end of the first quarter.
“As seniors, we discussed at the beginning of the season the importance of maintaining our dynasty,” Grant explained. His brother Avery also contributed to the team’s victory, scoring a goal with 1:11 left in the final quarter.
A Record-Breaking Legacy
This latest championship win marks Palisades High School’s 17th title in water polo. The Dolphins previously won six consecutive championships between 1973 and 1978 before the sport was discontinued for nearly three decades. Water polo was reinstated in 2008, and since then, Palisades High School has dominated the City Section playoffs. Prior to their current streak, Birmingham won four titles in five seasons. All of Palisades’ championships have been achieved under the guidance of coach Adam Blakis.
Since their quarterfinal loss to Cleveland in 2011, Palisades High School’s water polo team has not suffered a defeat in the City Section playoffs.
Looking Ahead: SoCal Regional Championship
The Dolphins’ next challenge will be to secure their third consecutive SoCal Regional Championship and their fourth overall. They have previously clinched back-to-back Division III titles, defeating Carpintería in the 2021 final and Rancho Bernardo in 2022.
This year, the City Section had enough participating schools to form two playoff groups. The top four teams competed in the Open Division, while the next 15 teams competed in Division I.
Prior to Palisades’ victory in the Open Division, the West Valley League rivals, Cleveland and El Camino Real, battled for the Division I crown. In an intense match that went into overtime, the number one seed Cavaliers emerged victorious with a 9-7 win, claiming their first title since 2010.
Valentino Sánchez of Cleveland scored the equalizer with four seconds left in regulation time and then scored again in overtime to secure the win for the Cavaliers. Rohan Toc contributed four goals, and goalkeeper Gabe Shostak made 15 saves and scored two goals for El Camino Real.