Genetics have undoubtedly played a factor in Jared Osborn's rise to Central Section water polo elite status.
When you have a father, Ron Osborn, who played college water polo and an uncle, Michael Osborn, who made it onto the U.S. national team, you have a certain amount of skills in the blood.
But, as Clovis West High boys water polo coach Steve Mosher pointed out, "just because you come from great genes, you still have to put in the time and work. Jared has worked hard. He's had a goal for years to not only be the top player on our team, but in the section. He's pretty driven."
Osborn's efforts paid off in one of the most statistically dominating seasons in Central Section history and culminated in a Division I championship for his Golden Eagles.
The three-year varsity performer has been selected The Bee's Player of the Year after leading Clovis West to a record 13th section title during a senior season that saw him score a school- and Division I-record 156 goals on 61% shooting accuracy.
He also contributed 71 assists, 106 steals and 54 ejections drawn while earning first first-team All-Tri River Athletic Conference, D-I tournament MVP and first-team All-Northern California honors.
"With his knowledge of the game, he always knew exactly where to go to get free because he's quick and fast," Central coach Rick Klatt said. "We didn't cover him very well, and not many other people did, either. From a pure creative standpoint, he was the most creative guy around."
Despite his talented gene pool, Osborn didn't become the section's most dominant scorer overnight. He has played in the Olympic Development/USA Water Polo Zone programs for five years and has played on various age-group Junior Olympic teams for the past seven years.
During the summer, Osborn practiced three times a day, including private instruction from former U.S. Olympian Rick Merlo.
"I do it because I love the sport in all aspects," Osborn said. "I love working hard, and I love seeing the progress throughout the years. I set goals for myself, short-term and long term. The feeling you get from reaching those goals is much stronger than any pain you go through to get there."
Osborn's biggest goal was returning the section title to Clovis West, which has been the standard-bearer for boys water polo but had been without a championship since 2005. The Golden Eagles entered the postseason as the No. 2 seed behind TRAC champion Clovis, but behind Osborn's four goals, upset the Cougars 9-4 in the final.
"I was fortunate to play with a bunch of guys who had the same goal: to win a Valley championship," Osborn said. "We were confident throughout the year, we just couldn't get over the hump. We were always right there, we always played well until the third quarter. So coming into the Valley championship, I had a talk with the guys, telling them we can do this. We practiced all this time, from hell week until right now and we can't stop here. We have to finish this game."