For four years since its inception the Ohio Water Polo Camp has given the José Cerdá Award to the water polo campers who best embody the qualities of the late José Cerdá, a Sycamore High School water polo player who died during a swimming practice Oct. 26, 2010, his 18th birthday.
When José played water polo, there wasn’t a camp available locally in Cincinnati. He took the initiative of gathering his teammates to attend the Santa Barbara Camp in California directed by Olympian Wolf Wigo. This example shows the contagious enthusiasm, passion and dedication to water polo that José exhibited and his desire for self-improvement and that of his teammates.
This year’s recipients of the José Cerdá Award are Milford High School water polo player Skyler Fontaine for the girls and East Grand Rapids High School, Mich., player Mikey Roberts for the boys.
Stephen Ioas, former teammate of José, presented the award with these words: “José Cerdá was a friend to all and a teammate to a lucky few. His optimism, commitment to, and knowledge of the two sports he loved were spectacular, and the award in his memory went to two players who demonstrate qualities of José’s passion.”
As one of the recipients of the award, Skyler acknowledged the leadership and sportsmanship expectations this recognition carries: “it is a complete honor to have received this award in José’s name and to keep growing his legacy along with watching the love for the sport grow.”
Past years’ recipients of the José Cerdá award were from Sycamore High School and Worthington Kilbourne High School in 2013, St. Xavier High School and Thomas Worthington High School in 2012 and Mason High School in 2011. All these recipients have pledged to continue being ambassadors of the sport.
Mike Jones and Alexis Nordrum are the directors of the Ohio Water Polo Camp, which July 18-20 at the University of Cincinnati. This year 83 players from 21 different schools in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and Illinois participated in the camp to improve their skills and gain insights on team strategies and fundamentals of play. Felix Mercado, water polo head coach of Brown University, and four-time Olympian Brenda Villa returned to instruct the camp this year and were joined by the following instructors: Curtis Robinette, water polo head coach at Mercyhurst College; Josh Dunn, water polo coach of Monmouth College and Steve Coupland, All-American goalie, Fresno State.
To support the mission of the JCAF, online monetary donations can be made at http://www.joseito.webs.com or http://www.jcafoundation.org. Checks payable to JCAF can be mailed to JCAF P.O. Box 12918, Cincinnati, OH 45212.