Features Sports

Spotlight Player: La Habra’s Sean Pedersen

By Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

Sean Pedersen may be a junior on La Habra’s varsity water polo team, but with one year of varsity experience already under his belt, he’s realizing his time to make a difference.

In last Friday’s 11-7 victory at Canyon High, Sean scored four late goals, assisted two more and collected four steals to help with the victory to even out La Habra’s record at 6-6.

Sean admitted to being a little nervous before the game, given Canyon’s reputation for being a good program, but once he was in the game, it was time to work.

“It took me a bit to focus, I was late getting into the water,” Sean said. “I think because I was late I had to focus more to get into the game. In the first half I got beat up, there were a couple dirty players on that team, but in the fourth quarter, I felt that those guys should pay and that’s when I got a few goals within a minute and got the steals.”

His performances so far this season aren’t necessarily surprising to his coach, David Edwards, who noted that Sean’s experience playing for clubs has helped him at La Habra.

“Sean’s strength is his intensity and his experience,” Edwards said. “He’s been playing club year round since before he was a freshman. He’s got a lot of speed, experience, smarts and a high intensity, so he’s not afraid of anybody.”

Edwards went on to say that another facet in Sean’s game that helps with the team is his ability to anticipate steals, which can lead to counterattacks.

But the big difference for Sean this season is his ability to move around opposing goaltenders to open up more open shots, which has led to more goals at the start.

“I’ve already scored as many goals as I did last year,” Sean said. “I’m starting to get more comfortable going down into the offensive positions, where last year I was trying not to mess up. Last year was an honor being on varsity as a sophomore.”

Outside of water polo, Sean is a big film buff, admitting that when he has free time, he will try to watch a movie that he has never seen before.

Inspired by a drama teacher, Sean co-founded a film club with a classmate, which is advised by Edwards.

“I bug my friends by quoting movies all the time,” Sean said. “We just started the film club, our first meeting is on Tuesday. Our drama teacher got us interested and then we just started brainstorming.”

Along with movies, Sean is also a member of the Boy Scouts and regularly attends outings.

In school, Sean’s favorite subjects are Drama and History and is hoping to maintain a GPA above 3.50 after this semester.

But in the pool, Sean is respected for his abilities according to Edwards and it’s a known fact that when there’s a scrimmage in practice, his skills are highly sought after by everyone.

When it comes to film, Sean looks up to Director Christopher Nolan for his ability to create mind-blowing thrillers and interesting concepts on screen.

But for water polo, his role models are Tony Azevedo and Ryan Bailey from the US Olympic team.

“Tony Azevedo has a strong shot and a strong work ethic,” Sean said. “Ryan Bailey does water polo and has a family and the fact that he is able to balance everything out is amazing.”

Perhaps that balance will motivate Sean as he heads into league play next week, while balancing schoolwork, films and boy scouts throughout the remainder of the regular season.

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Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.