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   SACRAMENTO, Calif. ““ Senior water polo player Lauren Charter grew up in a Cal Bear family and now she will continue the legacy...

   SACRAMENTO, Calif. ““ Senior water polo player Lauren Charter grew up in a Cal Bear family and now she will continue the legacy after receiving an offer to play for the UC-Berkeley water polo program next year.

   “Cal has been a major part of my life,” said Charter. “I will be a fourth generation student at Cal. I was born and raised as a Cal Bear and I am so glad I get to carry on that tradition. To be a student-athlete at such a premier school, it is unimaginable. I am so honored and thankful. It has been my dream to go to Cal and be able to play.”

   Charter met the Cal coach at the Nor Cal Championships last weekend in Palo Alto. After a whirlwind process, Charter was offered a spot on the team this week. She has been considering other options for both school and water polo but had her dream come true.

   “I think it is an amazing opportunity,” said St. Francis Head Coach Heather Moody. “I am really glad that it has worked out for her. After the weekend, the head coach at Cal was really impressed with how she played. She stepped up. It was a goal for her to continue playing in college. It is really exciting that she gets to go to an amazing school with an amazing water polo program.”

   Cal was ranked as high as No. 3 in the country last season and reached the semifinals of the NCAA Championships. The Bears compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation along with Pac-12 schools Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA and USC, as well as Bakersfield and San Jose State.

   “I am so honored that I get to play with some of the best female water polo players in the world,” said Charter, who is a three-year letter winner who first joined the varsity team as a freshmen for section playoffs.

   Charter, who is a two-time USA Water Polo Academic All-American, leads the St. Francis team in goals (49) and points (68), while ranking third in assists (19) and steals (40). She says that her participation in the water polo program at St. Francis changed her life.

   “It has been everything,” said Charter. “It has been my major support system at St. Francis and has been where I have found some of my closest friends. I have learned so much more than the game. I have learned how to be on a team and get along with other people. I would not be the same person if I was not playing on the St. Francis water polo team.”

   Charter says the previous classes helped motivate her to get to this point in her career with the ability to play water polo in college.

   “I am so thankful for the seniors when I was an underclassman that I looked up to and moved on to play in college. I am so happy that they were my mentors.”

   Charter earned CIF Sac-Joaquin all-section first-team honors in 2013 after scoring 28 goals with 18 assists and 47 steals as a junior. She recently surpassed the 100-goal mark for her career against Acalanes in the Nor Cal Championships and has 103 entering the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

   “I am surprised,” said Charter of reaching the 100-goal mark. “It is a great accomplishment that I have. To me, statistics are important but not everything .I have always struggled to get the ball in the back of the net so I think it is testament to how hard I have been working and playing for my teammates. I am proud of that.”

   Charter and her teammates return to the pool on Saturday in their quest for the section title. The Troubadours fell in the final to Davis last season and the two schools have met in the finals each of the last nine seasons and 10 of the last 11 overall.

   “We are so positive,” said Charter. “The Nor Cal tournament was the perfect way to lead us into the next two weeks. We played not only four competitive games and four extra quarters with overtime. It is going to propel us into sections. There is a whole new atmosphere. We are energetic and excited where our team is right now.”

   St. Francis plays Enochs, the No. 2 seed out of the Modesto Metro Conference, at Noon on Saturday at Johansen High School.


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