Friday, August 29, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Stapleton family’s big Saturday still hasn’t hit home

DHS senior Connor Stapleton, right, takes a backhand shot during the Blue Devils' Sac-Joaquin Section championship game victory over Granite Bay on Saturday. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise file photo

By
From page B1 | November 15, 2012 |

Saturday, Nov. 10.

The events of that day still haven’t fully sunk in for Davis High boys water polo coach Tracy Stapleton.

Let’s see. What happened in the Stapleton household that day?

Oh, yeah. Stapleton’s Blue Devils won their 14th Sac-Joaquin Section title, eight of which have come under the coach who confirms he’ll return for a 26th season.

The subplot? Stapleton’s son Connor — one of the nation’s top prep players — capped off a brilliant senior year with four goals and his first CIF pennant.

The end of four high school years together was emotional for the elder Stapleton, who was wrestling with words immediately after DHS’ 13-5 victory over Granite Bay.

After a celebratory dunk in the pool (compliments of his team), Tracy Stapleton had just enough time to find dry clothes and sit in the stands to watch his sophomore daughter Colby score the game-winning goal over St. Francis with 14 seconds remaining, giving the Davis girls their 10th section crown.

The proud papa was asked: Just how big was Saturday?

“How high is Mount Everest?” came Stapleton’s still-numb reply.

The big day is just starting to register. The boys’  impressive 24-7 season is just reaching the coach’s radar …

“I haven’t really thought of the entire season per se,” Stapleton told The Enterprise. “I’ve definitely thought about the day. It was hard to decompress after our game. I was watching (Colby’s) game bit-by-bit, the way a coach would watch, analyzing.

“Looking back, it’s almost overwhelming. Words? Humility, gratitude come to mind.”

Stapleton says he looks at his son’s prep career-ending game and his daughter’s huge performance with different perspectives.

“It’s two-fold. I look at (Connor’s finale) more monumentally. This team was formed two years ago. (Saturday) went as scripted,” the coach explains. “For Connor, I thought ‘Wow. This is the mountain.’ (For Colby) it was more the moment — Saturday with her was all about that moment.”

Stapleton said because his squad had spent three consecutive years as CIF runners-up, this title was a little sweeter.

“It was pretty fantastic,” says the DHS teacher. “It was a major thing. The parents and players all bought in. We were really dialed in (in the) pool. I thought my wife (Tara) had a good observation about it, that we had such an appreciation for (the championship) because we had come so close previously.”

While both male Stapletons agree that their final prep outing together was pretty special, Tracy Stapleton said it wasn’t just Connor, but “where (all the players) came from with me constantly nipping at them. The way they played that final game was very rewarding.”

Stapleton frequently puts his Devils in harm’s way by entering tournaments of national stature in San Diego and the Bay Area. Playing the best teams, says the coach, prepares his athletes for challenges in the playoffs.

He was particularly proud of the way Davis handled red-hot St. Mary’s of Stockton in the semifinals on Thursday.

Winning 10-8, the Devils used wings Bradley Nicholson and Tyler Ujifusa to negate the Rams’ defense — which was designed to take DHS’ top four scorers out of the game.

“The St. Mary’s game was a key for us,” Stapleton recalls. “When they played to stop our Big Four, Tyler and Bradley were going to have to win this game. (The pair) was critical in us winning the title. St. Mary’s prepared us for the final. And to see Tyler and Bradley sticking to it — to see it in their eyes, ‘I’m in total control now.’ was very satisfying.”

Connor Stapleton was one of only four seniors on the Blue Devils. Six of the seven Davis starters return next year, but it’s no secret that replacing a U.S. youth national team member will be a tall task, if not impossible.

Picture the 1930s New York Yankees without Babe Ruth. Somehow they found a way to continue top-level play. And yes, coach Stapleton has found a way to mix and match talent on seven other championship squads …

Something says he’ll find a way next fall, too.

Notes: Connor Stapleton is now off to the World Youth Water Polo tournament (Dec. 1-9) in Perth, Australia. While Down Under, the local kid is going to have a huge rooting section — the whole family is going, including Tara, her parents, Colby and the coach. “They get Hungary in the first round,” Connor’s dad says with a smile, knowing the Hungarians have what is considered the best water polo squads in the world. At least on the 16-hour flight to one of the world’s most isolated big cities, Tracy Stapleton should finally get a chance to reflect on Saturday, Nov. 10.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at bgallaudet@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8047.

Comments

comments

Bruce Gallaudet

.

News

Saving Putah Creek: a quiet concert at sunset

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Mr. Dolcini goes to Washington

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Winton to be feted for her many years of community work

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Davis Innovation Center team fields questions

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Researchers solve mystery of Death Valley’s moving rocks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
California extends review of $25B delta plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Assembly approves statewide ban on plastic bags

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Equestrian eventing competition slated

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Forum explores local mental health services

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Celebrate the Senior Center at Sept. 9 luncheon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Kids can sign up for a library card and get a free book

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Explorit Science Center: Volunteers supercharge summer camp

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

 
Bodega Marine Laboratory hosts open house

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Local group charts a year’s worth of beauty in flowers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Free blood pressure screenings offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Name Droppers: UCD honors two of its own

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
Books, conversation and poetry at Logos

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Forum

Let’s sell the MRAP on eBay

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

 
Seeing both sides of ‘tank’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

What if we need MRAP?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

 
How could tank be helpful?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: C2

Don’t sentence our police to death

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C2, 1 Comment

 
Will Davis see river water?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

Travel buddy is getting too fat

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
.

Sports

Returning seniors, new faces lead promising DHS links squad

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devil golfers return from Scotland with smiles on their faces

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Devils scrimmage with Sac

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD-Stanford: the clock is down to counting the minutes

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

Forget the score; focus on the energy brought by Aggies

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
Wire briefs: Aces cruise past Cats at Raley

By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B6

Sports briefs: DHS girls fall by the slimmest of net margins

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

‘The November Man’: Who can be trusted?

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
B Street’s ‘The Ladies Foursome’ is aces

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

.

Business

Technology makes a great car better

By Ali Arsham | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Margarita Elizondo

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Elaine Dracia Greenberg

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics