Bret Harte's Cardiel earns spot on water polo all-league team

Bret Harte senior Noah Cardiel was a key player for the Bullfrogs during the 2021 season.

While Calaveras and Bret Harte were both unable to reach the water polo postseason, both squads had players on the all-league team.

Bret Harte’s boys’ team finished the season 2-4 in Mother Lode League play. Sonora placed first by going 6-0 and Amador took second with a 4-2 record. Bullfrog senior Noah Cardiel was named as a first-team player and also received the Character Award. Bret Harte junior Alex Tudbury earned second-team honors.

As for the Bret Harte girls’ team, the Bullfrogs finished the season 0-4. Sonora won the league championship with a perfect 4-0 record, while Amador went 4-2. Bret Harte sophomore Tatum Tapia is a second-team player.

“Tatum showed an impressive natural talent in the water,” Bret Harte head coach Katlyn Rugo said. “Her skills made her a strong player across the field both defensively and offensively.”

And Bret Harte’s Zoe Ruggieri was given the Character Award.

“Zoe stepped up as a leader and positive role model for her team from the very beginning,” Rugo said. “She showed great character by being a good leader and hard worker with a positive attitude all season long.”

As for Calaveras, it’s boys’ team finished the season 0-6. Junior Jeremiah Hinkle earned a spot on the second team. Hinkle led Calaveras with 57 points, along with two assists and nine steals.

“Being new to the sport he had tremendous speed, which I hope he improves upon in the offseason,” Calaveras first-year head coach Mike Vertar said. “Going forward, I hope to see his physical abilities improve, as well as his knowledge of the game, now that he has a season of experience under his belt. He has expressed many times the new found love for the sport and how quickly it came on for him. Hopefully through the offseason and summer we can continue to polish his abilities and see a true gem shine next season.”

Calaveras senior Jack Garamendi was given the Character Award. When asked why Garamendi was the choice for the award, Vertar said, “In my opinion, Jack completely embodied the character award. Whether in or out of the water, he always put his best self forward. He showed selflessness and compassion towards his teammates, as well as others around him. He would always go out of his way to lend a helping hand, ear, or shoulder to those in need. He never wanted to be the center of attention, but always found himself surrounded by those who gravitated towards him, without him ever really knowing it. Jack is a natural leader, but one who prefers to lead from the background by example. He is extremely humble and charismatic, which brings a very light and peaceful enjoyment to all involved in whatever Jack is participating in. He was always a true pleasure to have around and the best role model for the younger players. I see him doing great things in the adventures life has in store for him.”

Calaveras’ girls finished the season with a 2-4 record. Senior Cora Heusel earned a spot on the second team, along with capturing the Character Award.

“Cora was selected by her teammates as the captain of the team early on,” Vertar said. “As the season progressed, she became, as I perceived, the nucleus of the team. Whether during highs or lows, she was forever pushing the team forward to do their best. Without fail, she would rally the girls around her for team meetings, offering guidance and encouragement, all the while fighting to do her best in the cage. She would regularly break off in practice to assist those struggling to understand what was being taught or to show how to perform the task being asked. Even when she was injured and wanted to cry, she was still in there defending the cage and congratulating her team on a job well done.”

Sonora’s Jack Birtwhistle was the Most Valuable Player and Wildcat Nater Personius was the Most Outstanding Player in the boys’ league. For the girls, Sonora’s Adeline Hanson was the MVP, while Sonora’s Sophia Alomia was the Most Outstanding Player.

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