For all Mary Brooks has accomplished in a young water polo career that already has taken her to the international level, there was one glaring omission on her résumé.
But the 16-year-old Clovis West High junior took care of that with a brilliant performance in the Central Section finals before traveling to Australia for the World Youth Championships.
Brooks -- in the U.S. Olympic Development Program since she was 14 -- scored six goals and played standout defense while leading second-seeded Clovis West to a 9-7 win over No. 1 Clovis for the section Division I championship.
"Clovis is obviously a great team, so it was very satisfying to do it," said Brooks, The Bee's Player of the Year in girls water polo. "We knew we could all along, so we played with our hearts and as a team."
It was Clovis West's record 11th section title, but first since Brooks arrived as one of the most highly touted players in Northern California.
It also exorcised the demons of getting swept by the rival Cougars in Tri-River Athletic Conference play the past two seasons and of championship losses to Clovis during her freshman and sophomore years.
"She's such a competitor, and she hates to lose," Clovis West coach Scott Torosian said. "She always wants to make sure her team is the best team in the pool, and she'll try to will her team to win in any way possible."
The All-Valley D-I MVP and a two-time TRAC Player of the Year is in line to become the most prolific player in Clovis West history after she scored 128 goals to go with 91 steals, 47 assists and 91 ejections drawn for the 24-6 Golden Eagles.
With one season to play, Brooks is 76 goals, 61 steals and 29 assists shy of becoming the school career leader in those categories. She holds the record in ejections drawn with 220.
"She can do everything in the pool: offense, defense and she's a great swimmer on top of it," Torosian said. "It's like having a second coach in the water. She pretty much knows what I am thinking as the game is progressing and, especially on offense, can tell the girls where to go."
Playing water polo is in the family genes.
Her mother, the former Jenny Hohne, was the MVP on a national championship team at UC San Diego. Her father, Matt, is Clovis West's goalkeeper coach, and older brother, also named Matt, a Bee All-Star in 2008.
"I always play with passion and treat each game like a championship," Brooks said. "I don't like letting my team down. I like to be a role model and set the standard for the girls coming up."
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: MARY BROOKS
School: Clovis West
She's qualified because: The driving force in Clovis West's march to the Central Section Division I championship was named the Tri-River Athletic Conference Player of the Year and All-Valley D-I MVP after racking up 128 goals (second in school history), 47 assists, 91 steals and 91 ejections drawn (school record). She scored six goals in a 9-7 win over Clovis in the section final. The three-year varsity player is closing in on school records for career goals (76 away), assists (29 away) and steals (61 away). Her 220 ejections drawn already is tops in the history of a program with 11 section titles.
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