COACH OF THE YEAR: RHONDA SMITH
School: Hanford West
She's qualified because: Enjoyed her best season since launching the school's girls water polo program in 1998, directing the Huskies to a 25-3 record and the Central Section Division II championship. Top-seeded Hanford West's 10-5 win over No. 2 Memorial in the final provided the school's first section water polo title.
The Huskies' season also featured a title at the Tulare Tournament, a runner-up finish at the Hanford Tournament, a fourth-place showing at the Sunnyside Tournament and an 11-1 run and co-championship in the West Yosemite League. Smith, who also coaches the swimming team, led the Huskies to the D-II semifinals in 2011.
Seeds of success: Smith prepared for the season knowing she had a pair of four-year varsity players and eight other seniors who had been a part of an undefeated WYL championship JV team in 2010.
Adding to that core was sensational sophomore Dagmar Gudmundsson, who scored a team-best 78 goals while being selected the WYL's Co-MVP and MVP of the Division II playoffs.
She said it: "We had an amazing season. My athletes and I worked very hard during the summer playing for our club team to prepare for this school season. The work ethic of these girls is just tremendous. ... We were planning on this being a great season. We just had no idea that it would mean winning WYL and Division II."