Lake Oswego's Iron Mountain Water Polo club appears to be gaining in popularity, but the organizers of the program would like to see it grow even faster.
Water polo was one of the first team sports to be included in the Olympic Games in 1900, but it's a relatively new sport in Lake Oswego. Programs started at Lakeridge and Lake Oswego high schools in 2000, but at the time there was no youth program to provide a continual infusion of talent for the high school teams.
So, Joe Calpin, the father of former LOHS star Ian Calpin, started the Iron Mountain Water Polo club in the spring of 2001. The club draws its name from Iron Mountain Boulevard, which divides the two high school attendance areas. And the club feeds players to both teams.
To familiarize kids with the sport, practices are held two evenings each week - on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There's a session from 7 to 8 p.m. for kids in grades fourth through eighth, and high school kids practice from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Kids can sign up through the community school office, or show up before the beginning of a session.
The program is headed by T.J. Harney, a former star at the University of Redlands and current water polo coach at Lake Oswego High School.
Even though the sport is relatively new to the area, the local high schools have already produced an impressive list of former stars.
Ian Calpin would probably lead that list. The 2003 LOHS graduate was a two-time All-American at the University of Redlands. During his senior year, when he made first-team All-America, Calpin scored 43 goals, dished out 19 assists and made 35 steals. He was recently offered a professional water polo contract to play for the Balmain Tigers in Australia.
Other players of note include Justine Kilsby, a 2006 LOHS graduate who last year played for Pomona College, which qualified for the NCAA playoffs. Another LO grad was Megan Calpin, whose University of Pennsylvania team finished sixth in the national club championships last season.
Other former Lake Oswego stars include Grant Canary (now playing for Occidental College), Stephanie Wilson (at Harvard University), Eric Rottman (Oregon State), Becky Bland (University of Oregon), Jaime Fordyce (UC-Santa Cruz), Tamas Thibeau (DeAnza College in California), Spencer Raymond (Syracuse University) and Jeff Stewart (Oregon State). Lakeridge's recent honor roll includes Zach Yensen, who will play for the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., this fall.