March 23, 2011

Men's Water Polo Announces 2011 Signing Class

March 23, 2011

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Nine high school standouts have been signed to National Letters of Intent it was announced by UC Santa Barbara men's water polo coach Wolf Wigo. The signees will join the Gauchos for the 2011 fall season.

"This is far and away the best recruiting class that we have had at UCSB since I have been coaching here and likely the best since the 1970's," said Wigo. "This class is full of blue chip recruits who we hope, in the next few years, can help bring UCSB back to the NCAA Championships. This is also a great group of guys and I look forward to spending a lot of time with each of them over the next four or five years."

Derek Shoemaker is a driver who hails from Hollywood, Florida and is currently a senior at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, Calif. The four-year letterwinner and both water polo and swimming was a Second Team All-American and All-CIF First Team pick. He is also a member of the National Youth Team. Shoemaker is the younger brother of current Gaucho Brian Shoemaker.

Chase Racich is a driver that also comes to UCSB via Dos Pueblos High School where he was a four-year letterwinner in both water polo and swimming. He was on the U.S. Junior National Team last summer and helped the squad to a second-place finish in the international tournament. Racich comes from a family of Gauchos; both his parents, Randy and Linda, graduated from UCSB and his cousin Kendall Olds played for the UCSB men's water polo team (2006-10).

Jake Miller, a utility player, is another incoming freshman with UCSB in the blood as his brother Bryce and cousin Scott Bishop currently play for the Gauchos. Miller is currently a senior at Mira Costa High School where he has twice been named a High School All-American and has twice been selected to the All-CIF Southern Section First Team. The 2010 Bay League MVP has also had success at the club level, taking second place at the 2010 National Junior Olympics.

Liam Gaugham is a two-meter defender who attends Mater Dei High School where he has helped his team to three-consecutive CIF Southern Section Championships. The two-time All-American is also a three-time All-Trinity League First Team pick and two-time All-CIF First Team honoree.

Dana Tuttle is a goalkeeper out of Mira Costa High School. The 2010 All-American Honorable Mention earned First Team All-CIF Division III honors, first team all-league and was named Mira Costa's Defensive Most Valuable Player as a senior. In 2009, he helped Mira Costa to second place in the CIF and earned All-CIF Division IV honors. On the national level, he took second place at the 2010 Junior Olympics and earned All-American First Team honors at the 2009 and 2010 Junior Olympics. Tuttle has also played with the Coastal California Zone Team and the Youth National Team.

Chris Whitelegge is a goalkeeper that will come to UCSB via Newport Harbor High School. The U.S. Junior National Team product is a high school All-American and a 2010 All-CIF Southern Section Division I pick. The Sunset League Player of the Year also earned All-County Second Team honors in 2010. Whitelegge has also twice earned USA Water Polo Academic All-American honors.

Eric Van de Mortel is driver who is currently a senior at Murrieta Valley High School. He helped his high school team to four-consecutive Southwestern League Championships and four CIF Finals appearances. Van de Mortel earned 2010 All-American honors and is a two-time All-CIF First Team pick, two-time All-Valley First team selection and two-time All-Southwestern League First Team honoree. He is also an All-American swimmer and the 2010 CIF Division II Champion in the 100 breaststroke.

Mark Garner is a utility player who will come to UCSB from Saint Francis High School, which he captained to the 2010 Western Catholic Athletic League title and the Central Coast Section Division I Championship. Garner is a two-time All-WCAL First Team selection and two-time All-CCS First Team pick. On the national level, he has twice earned Junior Olympics All-American honors and was named the MVP at the 2009 United States Club Championships.

Bryan Snyder is a driver who hails from Walnut Creek, Calif. and is currently a senior at Las Lomas High School. The four-year varsity starter set school career goals (412) and assists records (156). Snyder is a 2010 First Team All-American, the 2010 North Coast Section Division II Most Valuable Player and a three-time All-Diablo Foothill League First Team pick. He was also selected as the Contra Costa Times East Bay Water Polo Athlete of the Year in 2010.

These nine players will help the Gauchos fill the void left by graduating seniors Milos Golic, Zsombor Vincze, Fraser Bunn, Russell Russo, Brian Bishop and Joe Plume.

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