Most valuable player
California Interscholastic Federation champion, Ocean League Most Valuable Player, two-time All Ocean League and third team All-CIF are good starting places when describing the young career of Santa Monica College men’s water polo standout Evan Peterson. Not only is he the leading goal-scorer this season for the Corsairs, but he also serves as team captain.
"I’m proud; I’ve worked hard," Peterson said. "We do get everyone ready to play in the games, but team chemistry is much more important. I’d rather have our team do well than just me be the leading scorer."
Peterson began playing water polo the summer before his freshman year at El Segundo High School.
After his decorated high school career, he played for multiple club teams around the South Bay in Los Angeles, and participated in the Junior Olympics.
Even with a leader as talented as Peterson, SMC has struggled to reach the top of the standings this season.
With a record of 8-10, including 0-2 in their conference, and a current two-game losing streak, it is going to be tough for the Corsairs to make a run at the playoffs.
"If we do well in our upcoming conference games, we still have a shot to finish in a good position, but we have to win from here on out," Peterson said. "To be completely honest, I don’t think the chemistry is all the way there. We still have more stuff we need to work on to get into a better rhythm."
The Corsairs have battled in several close games, but have ultimately come up short.
"We’ve had some good wins, but we’ve also had some close losses to teams we should have beat," Peterson said. "There have been some games where we just haven’t played up to our ability."
In his final season of eligibility, Peterson is already preparing for the day when he will leave the waters of SMC for the next stop on his collegiate journey.
"I have been talking to UCSD a little bit; hopefully that could work out," Peterson said. "I’m still undecided when it comes to my major, but I’ve been thinking about marine biology. After college, I probably won’t continue playing, but I could be interested in coaching in the future."
When Peterson is not dominating in the pool, he spends his time guarding it and making sure it is a safe place for the next generation of water polo players.
When he is on dry land, he can usually be found relaxing with those who know him best.
"I like to hang out with my friends on the weekends," Peterson said. "Also I’m working right now as a lifeguard at the Westchester YMCA."
Impressive young athletes like Peterson do not just fall out of thin air. There is almost always someone behind the scenes pushing them to reach their full potential, and his story has no exceptions.
"I would say my mom has been my biggest inspiration because she’s always been there for me and believed in me with what I’ve been doing," said Peterson.