Five UC Davis men’s water polo standouts were honored for their work in the classroom on Friday as the Western Water Polo Association announced its All-Academic Team for the 2019-20 school year.
Senior psychology major Max Somple and classmate managerial economics major Holden Tamblyn were joined by junior managerial economics major Jack Stafford, undeclared major Nir Gross, and freshman aerospace science and engineering major Stefan Venne, on this year’s list, which featured 69 student-athletes from across the conference’s eight members.
Somple, also a regular on the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches’ Academic Honor Roll, picked up his third WWPA award, as did Tamblyn, who has twice been honored by the ACWPC. Stafford and Gross were honored by the WWPA for the second time in his career after both earning ACWPC academic honor earlier in the year, while Venne was named to the WWPA academic honor roll for the first time.
To qualify for the WWPA All-Academic Team, a student-athlete must carry at least a 3.0 GPA following the fall quarter, compete in at least 50 percent of the team’s competitions, and have completed at least one semester or two quarters at his institution.
UC Davis wrapped up a successful 2019 campaign last fall, winning its third Western Water Polo Association crown in the last four seasons thanks to a 16-8 overall record and a perfect 7-0 league finish during the regular season — completing an unbeaten run through the league for the fifth time in the last season under the direction of Child and Meisel Families Director of Men’s Water Polo Daniel Leyson.
Entering the postseason on a nine-game winning streak, the Aggies made their seventh all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament, falling in a tightly contested quarterfinal battle with Pepperdine, and finished the year ranked No. 9 in the final Collegiate Water Polo Association poll — its highest since finishing the 2017 campaign at number eight in the nation.
UC Davis posted eight wins over top-20 teams and played 18 of its 24 contests against teams either ranked or receiving votes at the time of the match, including a historic upset of then-number five California in overtime on Sept. 14 — their first win over the Golden Bears in more than four decades and a win over their highest-ranked opponent since 2006.