Farmer plows Fenwick road back to state championship
Fenwick's Matt Farmer tries to get a shot off against Lyons Township's Danny McGuinness during the sectional championship at York. | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
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George Koulouris Hinsdale Central
Tommy McGuire Fenwick
Nathan Pimental Oak Park-River Forest
Oak Park-River Forest
Ryan O’Toole Hinsdale South
Chris Sekula Lyons
Updated: April 8, 2013 6:43AM
Matt Farmer lives next to the Lyons South campus in Western Springs, so watching the Lions win last year’s state boys water polo championship was hard.
The UCLA-bound Farmer, Fenwick’s top returning scorer, knew most of Lyons’ championship team and even played with many of them when he started out as a youth in the Lyons water polo program.
For a change, Farmer was a spectator at the state final at Stevenson instead of a participant. Lyons pulled off one of the biggest upsets in state water polo history by beating Fenwick 8-7 in a sectional final to end the Friars’ eight-year stranglehold on the state title.
“It was the first time I was not playing in (the championship),” Farmer said. “I definitely want to get back there.”
Farmer is the best water polo player in the state, signing last month with the Bruins. Fenwick alum (2009) Chris Wendt also plays for UCLA, who lost to five-time champion USC in the NCAA National Final.
Farmer has played for several national water polo teams, often as the only Midwestern player, and has traveled to Canada, Brazil, Hungary, Italy, Singapore and England. He returned in December from Perth, Australia, after finishing eighth with Team USA in the FINA Youth World Championships.
Water polo has taken Farmer across the world, but he wants his final destination this season to be Lincolnshire.
“Matt is a leader who is always trying to challenge himself,” Fenwick coach Kyle Perry said. “He’s in the pool early and late to leave. He’s also in the ear of his teammates and this week especially, he’s been working with the freshmen. He knows that this is his last year to leave a lasting mark on our program.”
Farmer is a four-year starter for the Friars (31-2 last season) and hopes to lead Fenwick to another title with returnees Matt Bresnahan, Omar Calderon, Jimmy Mullen and Tony Perez.
“I’ve looked forward to this all swim season,” Farmer said. “I’m sure I have to step up after we got back (to water polo season). We have to redeem ourselves from last year.”