May 22, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Concordia University’s men’s water polo season cancelled due to safety concerns

Concordia players meet for a huddle during a match last season. (Photo courtesy CUI Athletics)

Concordia University Irvine athletic officials announced Wednesday that the school has cancelled the men’s water polo season.

The team had been preparing for the season with practices at the William Woollett Aquatics Complex in Irvine.

“This decision was not taken lightly and many factors led ultimately to this decision,” said CUI Ahletic Director Crystal Rosenthal. “First and foremost, the overall well-being of our student-athletes is our highest priority at CUI.

“In adhering to local and state regulations as well as CDC guidelines, we anticipated that the state of California would have made progress before the anticipated start of the season in mid-January for us to hold our season.

“Unfortunately as time passed, practice time has remained limited and the reality of not being able to host home competitions materialized, in addition to the significantly increased risk of injury. All these factors weighed into this difficult decision.”

Fellow WWPA members UC Davis and UC San Diego recently opted out of the 2020-21 men’s water polo season as well. Seven of the WWPA’s eight member schools in men’s water polo are located in California, with the only exception being the Air Force Academy in Colorado.

“I understand and support the decisions schools make in the best interest of their programs due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation,” said WWPA Commissioner Steve Doten in a recent statement about the 2020-21 conference season.

The Concordia team dealt with the death of freshman Garrett Ryder Wade out of El Modena High School earlier this month. The squad cancelled one match following his death and another match after that was also cancelled. The decision to cancel the season was based solely on health and safety reasons, Concordia officials said.

—Courtesy Ben Rosehart, Concordia sports information director