Calla Troxel becomes latest Park City water polo player to sign to play at next level
Troxel set to play for University of Santa Clara
While Calla Troxel has been busy preparing for her swimming season for Park City High School, she’s had plenty to celebrate. Troxel signed last week to play water polo for Santa Clara University.
“It’s relieving in a way because the recruiting process was definitely hard and stressful, and at some points, it just really didn’t feel like I was going to play anywhere,” Troxel said. “But Santa Clara was always kind of the goal, and it finally worked out. It’s a huge relief, and I’m also so excited for the next four years because I kind of always knew that my high-school water polo career wasn’t the end of it.”
Troxel was one of three Park City athletes who signed to play their sports at the next level during a ceremony last week. (For more coverage of the event, click here)
Water polo sits in a different position compared to other high-school sports. It isn’t sanctioned — it’s a club sport. And it’s growing in Park City and Utah, although it’s not a sport most would associate with a ski town like Park City, which is a stark contrast to the sport’s hotbed, sunny California, home to collegiate women’s water polo powerhouses USC, UCLA and Stanford.
Troxel had a hard time finding a place to play after high school, which made her recruitment difficult.
“At big tournaments and everything, the super high-end Division I coaches will go to the teams that are known to send five of their graduating class to college, not to the Utah teams where it’s super rare,” she said. “It was really, really hard to keep reaching out to coaches and to not get discouraged, and call them on the phone and email them every single day to get their attention. It was always super nerve-wracking to talk to them at tournaments. Or, if they did come to watch my games, it was always, always super stressful.”
But Troxel connected with the coach at Santa Clara and visited the campus last year. She went on an official visit this fall and committed while there.
“I think that she’s going to thrive in college,” Park City coach Heather Flynn said. “I think it’s going to be exciting for her to play on a big team with everybody that has a lot of experience and a lot of skill. I think all that is going to do is elevate her level of play and continue to drive her to be an even better player.”
Troxel is also the second Park City water polo player to sign to play at the Division I level recently after Eva Stein last year. Troxel noted that their positions allowed them to improve together.
“We were kind of always each other’s competition, especially because she’s a goalie and I’m a field player,” Troxel said. “We could always improve each other by me shooting… She’s definitely the best goalie that we’ve had at Park City for a while, which has definitely helped my shot, and I think my shot has helped her goalie skills. It’s super fun that we both did it together.”
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