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Scorpions find ways to smile through adversity

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© Richard Gillard/Acorn Newspapers
Tyler Smith of the Camarillo High boys’ water polo team looks for an open teammate during Wednesday’s afternoon practice. © Richard Gillard/Acorn Newspapers
It’s not easy being a member of the Camarillo High boys’ water polo team.

The Scorpions don’t walk to practice after the last school bell of the day rings.

Instead, the players hop on a bus to Rio Mesa, the rival campus and home to the team that’s captured four straight Pacific View League championships.

Once they arrive at RMHS, the Scorpions wait for the Spartans to finish practicing.

Not having a pool to call its home is just one major issue Camarillo faces each fall.

The Scorpions have had a different coach for at least the last five seasons.

First-year head coach Drew Isais couldn’t recall the last time the school had a head coach for back-to-back seasons.

A 2008 Camarillo graduate, Isais understands the Scorpions’ obstacles.

“ Some of them tell me, ‘Coach, we have to take the bus after school and get home at 7 p.m.’ I tell them, ‘Yeah, we were there, too.’ It’s hard, but they’re committed to the program and they all love it.”

During the recent coaching carousel, none of the previous four coaches were Camarillo alums, according to Isais.

The Scorpions have a coaching staff they can trust with Isais and assistant coach Andrew Mulligan, another 2008 Camarillo grad.

“We know they care about the program,” junior Zack Zeider said. “We were pretty much left without a coach a few weeks before the season started. They stepped up and got us ready.”

The Scorpions didn’t practice this summer. The roster wasn’t set until three weeks before the regular-season opener.

Today, the future appears brighter for Camarillo.

According to Isais, there’s speculation that construction for a pool on the ACHS campus will start in April.

“From what I hear there’s plans drawn up,” Isais said. “Other people have heard the same thing.”

Isais said he would like to return next year and coach the Scorpions.

Isais coached the junior varsity swim team in 2011. That experience provided him with a connection with most players on the water polo squad.

James Adkins, a senior captain, is the ultimate team player.

Adkins starts in the cage for the Scorpions despite entering the season with no goalkeeping experience.

“I tried out for goalie because we didn’t have one,” Adkins said. “It’s my first time playing there. I’m a team player. I feel like I’m up to par with two or three goalies in the Pacific View.”

Adkins has participated in theater on campus since his sophomore year. He considers himself a practical joker.

Adkins said he wants to be a comedian or a journalist.

The Scorpions boast a mix of experience and youth in their lineup.

Sophomore wing George King has transitioned well to varsity from junior varsity.

“I got some experience playing varsity during my freshman year,” King said. “It’s a lot more physical, but the coaches have helped me adjust.”

Close friends and teammates Zeider and Tyler Smith grew up in the same neighborhood.

Zeider has been a member of the Ventura Water Club and Titans Elite Club.

Zeider, a junior who enjoys skateboarding, said he hopes Isais and Mulligan return to the pool deck in 2013.

Adkins joked that the Scorpions are “cursed” when it comes to retaining coaches.

Next Halloween, Camarillo hopes Isais and Mulligan will provide a treat by returning.

The Scorpions are sick of tricks.

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