Walters a leader for Rio Mesa water polo

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© Chuck Kirman/VC Star
Water polo player and swimmer Courtney Walters of Rio Mesa High School in the pool and ready for practice. © Chuck Kirman/VC Star
Rio Mesa High water polo utility player Courtney Walters always seems to be at the right place at the right time.

Walters, a junior, is coming off a 2010 All- Pacific View League MVP season.

A first team All-CIF Division 4 player, Walters was the Spartans MVP a year ago.

A three-year starter, Walters and her teammates celebrated another Pacific View League championship this season and are ready to make a run in the CIF-SS Divison 3 playoffs starting this week.

Rio Mesa coach Keith McKnett said Walters is a leader in and out of the pool.

“She has an incredible knack for the game,” said McKnett.

“She is fantastic at positioning herself for steals, creating goals, assists, etc.,” he said.

Her water polo journey started six years ago when friend Alex Jahng introduced her to the sport.

She started playing with the Titans Water Polo Club at Rio Mesa, and has played with the Santa Barbara Water Polo and Trojan clubs.

Walters currently plays for the Trojan Club, where she traveled last summer to spend two weeks playing in Montenegro.

“It was absolutely amazing and gorgeous over there,” she said,

She has dedicated herself to water polo, traveling five times a week to train with her Trojan Club at L.A. Trade Tech College.

Playing water polo was a no-brainer.

“I was really into swimming,” she said.

She tried soccer, but she wasn’t interested in running all over the field.

Once she checked out water polo, she confirmed her belief.

“It looked like fun,” said Walters, 17.

She has earned plenty of recognition since playing with the Spartans.

She was All-Tournament at Arroyo Grande this season and last.

“A really great highlight: we won the Oxnard Tournament,” she said of her freshman season.

The 5-foot-8 player was named tournament MVP.

Once again, leadership will be a key role for Walters as the Spartans enter the playoffs.

“We want to go as far as we can in CIF,” she said.

“Our goal is believing we can win it all,” she said.

After reaching the CIF finals in back-to-back seasons in Division 4, the Spartans have moved into Division 3 and have been one of the top teams all season.

Rio Mesa is ranked No. 6 in CIF.

McKnett said he expects his team to be challenged in the first round of CIF with a strong opponent.

Walters concurs with her coach.

“We will play a really strong team and there’s no room for error.”

Teammate Abbey Brooks likes what Walters brings to every game.

“Courtney is an all-around great player with a heart of gold. She is an excellent leader for us and she always tries to keep our spirits up and she never gives up during a game.

“Courtney always gives 100 percent of her effort in practice and in games. She knows the game very well and helps us and gives us advice to make us stronger individually and as a team,” said Brooks.Walters’ swim teams have enjoyed success as Pacific View League champions.

She swims the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races. She also swims the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays. Walters also can compete in the 200 and 500 freestyles.

In the classroom, she’s taking calculus and is enjoying her history of the Americas class.

Her 19-year-old brother Craig, a former Rio Mesa water polo goalie, is attending the University of Colorado at Boulder. He’s an engineering major.

Her 13-year-old sister Crista is a Level 5 gymnast.

Walters also enjoys traveling. Some of her favorite places are Pensacola, Fla., Colorado, Big Bear and Mammoth.

Walters is the daughter of Connie and John Walters of Camarillo.

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