For somebody born and raised in Tulare, Trevor De Leeuw has a very interesting hobby.
The Tulare Union junior likes to surf.
Of course, he doesn’t get a chance to do that very often around these parts.
So to make up for his lack of time in the ocean, De Leeuw spends a lot of time in the swimming pool playing water polo and terrorizing opposing defenses.
De Leeuw, a junior who towers over most of his water polo counterparts at 6-foot-5, led the Redskins to their first East Yosemite League championship in more than 20 years and to a runner-up finish in the Central Section Division II playoffs.
He finished the season with 101 goals, 43 drawn ejections, 32 steals and 18 assists.
For his efforts, he was named the Times-Delta/Advance-Register Tulare County boys water polo player of the year.
“He did a great job and worked hard all season,” Tulare Union coach Bill Freeman said. “He came through in the games we needed him to come through in. In the two Monache games, he took the game in his control and won them for us.”
De Leeuw had a lot of help on his team, which may have limited his overall statistics, but his presence in the pool was always felt.
In the Division II quarterfinals, De Leeuw scored early against Mt. Whitney standout Colton Dahlenburg, which set the tone for the rest of the match.
In the semifinals, Redwood keyed in on De Leeuw, which opened things up for the rest of the team, and his teammates made the Rangers pay.
“He did that a lot of times,” Freeman said about De Leeuw altering games with his scoring abilities or by drawing so much attention that his teammates would score. “It deflates other teams.”
De Leeuw will be the first to credit his teammates as the ones allowing him to have individual success and receive individual accolades. He was also named the East Yosemite League most valuable player.
But there is one trophy that has eluded De Leeuw and the Redskins each of the past two seasons — a trophy De Leeuw says he badly wants — a Central Section championship trophy.
The Redskins reached the Division III championship game in 2011 and came up short against Garces.
They were moved up to Division II for the 2012 season and found themselves back in the championship game, only to come up short against San Joaquin Memorial.
The Redskins will head into the 2013 season as one of the favorites for the Division II title because they return the majority of their team.
“It was a good run this year,” De Leeuw said. “We had a great team effort. All the guys are juniors though. We had more experience than last year and almost got that title. We couldn’t get it this year, but third time’s a charm.”
De Leeuw says losing in the championship match for a second straight year is something that has been eating at him. He said he replays the match in his head over and over and thinks about the things he could have done to change the outcome.
There is nothing he can do now, but he is focused on taking that extra step his senior year.
“I already want it to be next year,” De Leeuw said. “It will be fun to see how we end up with more experience and more maturity on our team.”