Campbell Johnson ’11 knows what it’s like to win a championship. His sophomore year, he celebrated with his teammates as they won their second straight New England water polo title.
That year, although Johnson saw little action as the backup goalie, he remained positive, knowing he had two years ahead to prove himself in the pool and play a larger role in reclaiming the championship.
“It was great to win the championship, but it would be even greater to finish my career by captaining another championship team,” said Johnson.
Two years later and no longer in goal, and with New England’s just around the corner, Johnson has positioned himself and his team back in the driver’s seat. Entering this weekend and the New England tournament, the boys’ water polo team carries with them an eleven-game winning streak and the first-place seed in New England.
But, according to Coach Mark Scandling, the team hasn’t shown its full potential just yet.
“We’ve played well and gained confidence throughout the season, but we haven’t played up to our full potential just yet,” said Mr. Scandling.
This confidence has come from wins in every way possible.
“We avenged our first and only loss of the season when we beat Choate 9-3, and we came from behind in the second half to beat Exeter 10-6, and it seems like no matter how well or poorly we’ve played, we’ve found a way to win,” said goalie Richie Beaumont ’11.
These victories, according to Johnson, “have been hard-fought, but we’ve learned a lot about ourselves and what kind of a team we are.”
This team, he explained, works well off of each other and is gritty when it matters most.
Like Johnson, seniors Beaumont, co-captain Justin Kwok, and Jamie Pielock have all served their time as substitutes, and are excited that their time has finally come.
“We know that now it is finally up to us to bring home the championship once more,” said Beaumont, “and although that causes some pressure, it is the pressure we’ve all looked forward to.”
As the season comes to a close and only the tournament remains, the team knows that everything that has happened during the season will be irrelevant in Hotchkiss’ pool.
“Undoubtedly, this season has been a great one with lots of accomplishments, but that all changes this weekend,” said Johnson. “We know that Exeter, Choate, and Andover will all bring their A-games, and we have to, too.”
Only two games, a semi-final, and final remain between the team and the title. The team will turn to Johnson’s leadership and playmaking ability to propel them to the championship. Leading the league in points, Johnson has been no stranger to success and has proved himself a top player in all regards.
But Johnson and his teammates have their sights on one thing: a third New England championship in four years. And, with the motivation and personnel to do it, nothing should stop them.