By John Philip Wyllie
For years, Bonita Vista High School has fielded a competitive women’s water polo team. Though consistently ranked among the county’s best, they have never won a CIF championship. That could change this year with the help of two-meter offense star, Brittany Estrada.
“This year, Brittany has assumed the role as our team leader,” explained her coach, Bryan Schultz. “Her work ethic has allowed her to become one of the predominant two-meter players in the county. She is second on the team right now in scoring behind Sarah Glick and she is playing very well for us. Hopefully, she will be able to finish the season for us the way she started it.”
As a senior, Estrada knows all too well the feeling of coming close, but falling just a little bit short in the postseason playoffs. While the Barons expect plenty of competition from North County powerhouses, Poway and Rancho Bernardo, they believe 2004 could finally be their year.
“We are excited because we have never been ranked higher than sixth in the history of our water polo program and right now we are ranked third (behind Rancho Bernardo and Poway),” explained Estrada. “Rancho Bernardo won the title last year and Poway won it the year before, so they are more experienced and know how to win (in pressure situations). We’ve never had that experience of winning a (CIF) championship, but we are learning and we have a lot of heart.”
The Barons split a pair of head to head matches against Poway earlier this season, so they know the Titans can be beaten. Although defeated in their only meeting with Rancho Bernardo, the match was played early in the season and was a hard fought affair. Estrada would love to cap what has been a brilliant four-year career at Bonita Vista with a coveted CIF championship.
A three-time all-league selection, Estrada, who will graduate in the top 10% of her class this spring, owns a 4.2 G.P.A. She has also been honored several times as a member of the San Diego Union-Tribune all-academic team. Fascinated with Biology, she hopes to pursue a degree in forensics research or sports medicine. The University of Indiana and UC Irvine have both expressed their interest. With her combination of athleticism and smarts, she should be in line for a substantial scholarship.
By the time she was five, Estrada was already swimming competitively. It wasn’t until recently however, that she became interested in water polo.
“Swimming is much more individual,” she explained. “While you often get a lot of support from your coach and teammates, when it really comes down to it, you are racing for yourself. I prefer water polo because I really like the idea of relying on other people.”
When she is not in the pool or studying, Estrada enjoys traveling. One of her favorite destinations is Mexico.
“We have some relatives in Mexico and we go there whenever we can. Both of my parents are fluent in Spanish and I am trying to improve mine. I at least, can understand it pretty well. I am hoping to stay with my relatives down there this summer so that I can improve my Spanish. I adore Mexico.” Once she arrives, she will no doubt head to the nearest pool. Maintaining her stamina to play an exhausting sport like water polo requires hours of training.
“I’ve only been playing for four years,” she said. “I had no idea I would go this far, but I’ve just fallen in love with it.”