Ever since scoring the game-winning goal in the 2014 New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (Nepsac) Water Polo Championship against Choate, Co-Captain Sasha Newton ’16 has been hungry to lead Andover back to its former championship glory.
Newton’s offensive prowess and leadership skill proved crucial in Andover’s championship run in 2014, and those same qualities have made her an accomplished captain. Her infectious charisma and talent have greatly influenced the underclassmen on the team.
Jess Gearan ’18 said, “Sasha is super supportive, and at practice when me or another one of my teammates doesn’t understand something, she pulls us aside and goes over the skill with us so we understand it and can apply it in the game.”
Commenting on Newton’s most prominent skill, Gearan said, “Sasha is a really good shooter and can basically shoot from anywhere in the pool.”
Newton’s lethal shooting ability is potent when combined with her ability to lead in and out of the pool.
Gearan said, “Before every single game, she is always really inspirational and gets us pumped up. Her cheeriness spreads to all of us and we always become really excited. At Deerfield, which was one of our tougher opponents she was scoring a bunch of goals and in overtime her and a Deerfield girl went back to back and kept on scoring and it was just really inspirational. I think the end she even scored the winning goal.
“Also outside of the pool, she is like literally the cheeriest person ever,” she continued. “She always has a smile on her face, and she is the type of captain where if you have anything going on, like anything, she is the type of person who will give you the best advice. Like sometimes she even helps me with my Spanish projects or even other homework.”
At practice, Newton not only helps the experienced members, but also helps the newcomers to the sport.
Sarah Choi ’18, a new Lower, said, “I came into Water Polo this year without knowing how to do anything. During practice when we would have partners, she would instantly come to me and ask me to be her partner and help me with all the water polo skills. She is a really hard worker and makes everything fun.”
Newton’s hopes for this season are ambitious, but she has the experience to lead Andover to victory. Newton was raised in Lafayette, Calif., one of the premier locations for water polo in the country. Many of the club teams in California are regarded as the best in the United States.
Newton said, “And in California, it is basically like the water polo Mecca. Especially in southern California, but also in Northern California there are some really good club teams. I started playing in sixth grade for 680 Drivers; it’s a water polo club. And I played club water polo throughout my time before starting Andover.”
In her first few years of the sport, Newton played for her school team and a club team. As a three-year Senior, Newton spent her first year of high school in California and absorbed as much as she could from role models in her hometown.
Newton said, “Before I went to Andover – at my old high school – two Seniors… were super inclusive for me at a time where I was still a little nervous around the sport. And also my club coach, Todd Halverson – who was my first water polo coach [and] who was really encouraging – helped me foster a love for the sport.”
Andover looks poised to make a strong playoff run under the strong leadership of Newton and fellow Co-Captain Alexa Pagano ’16.