By Mya Castro
As the season begins for Riverside City College men’s water polo, Reese Starkey has become a force to be reckoned with.
With 10 years of playing experience, the Cajon high school alumnus has collected a college career total of 24 goals and 28 steals. Starkey’s outstanding offense and defense have helped the team secure three wins so far this season.
As his passion for the sport continues to grow, Starkey’s two older brothers are the ones who inspired him to play the sport competitively. His brothers also played at Cajon high school and one of them attended and played at RCC just like him. Starkey couldn’t be any happier to follow his brother’s footsteps and play for RCC.
“Water polo for community college was probably the best option with RCC,” Starkey said.
Like many other freshman, Starkey missed out on experiencing his first year at college as a student athlete because of the pandemic and the hold on in-person classes at RCC. After a year of waiting, the freshman couldn’t wait to get back on campus and back in the water.
“I’m excited to play but I feel like it really held me back from a lot more,” he said.
For someone who is eager to constantly improve his skills, a year off from playing was not beneficial to him in any way.
While he believes that he wasn’t able to reach his full potential, Starkey’s teammates believe that he is one of the biggest assets to the team.
“He’s so fast, like one of the fastest on the team so his speed mixed with his knowledge of the game and how hard he works definitely helps the team out offense and defensively,” Jared Salas, a men’s water polo team captain, said.
Sebastian Kenley, a sophomore on the team, also believes that Starkey’s speed has helped them a lot during games.
“Reese is really fast and he finds himself open a lot on counter attacks because of his speed,” Kenley said. “He is positive and is a very committed athlete.”
When asked about what makes Starkey different from other players, many of them have described him to be a hard worker.
“He puts in work every minute he is in the water for us and he is one of our key starters,” Tommy Dempsey, another team captain, said.
When it comes to school, the freshman remains focused on his studies at all times. “Being a student comes first, because if I don’t have my classes done and all my stuff done then I can’t be an athlete,” he said.
Looking forward to the future, Starkey has big goals for himself. As a film major, he plans on working his way up to be known in the world of film.
“I started when I was twelve and I started liking not just taking photos but I started using my own camera to record little videos and edit them and I’d say I’ve done pretty okay at it,” Starkey said. ”And now I wanna start my own business with it.”
As a water polo player, he has big dreams of going to top division one schools to compete. “I definitely wanna transfer to play… my number one option would be UCLA,” he said. “If I can’t get into UCLA I’ll definitely look into UC Santa Barbara or UC Irvine.”
Starkey’s time at RCC is not at a close though once the season ends. He still plans on attending and playing at RCC for one more year before he transfers.
The starting freshman has continued to shine not only in sports but in academics as well.