At 6 feet, 6 inches tall, 2010 Oakdale High graduate Garrett Porter entered the Modesto Junior College Water Polo preseason in July with some serious physical attributes for a goalkeeper.
Four months later, team and individual workouts had beefed up Porter’s imposing frame, adding more tools to an already loaded arsenal of defensive weapons.
The added strength, combined with some expert skill from the former Sac-Joaquin All Section performer, led Porter to an incredible season in his first year at the community college level.
Porter led MJC to a 16-5 season, second place Big-8 Conference finish and appearance in the NorCal Championship Tournament.
By the time Porter’s season had ended, he had nabbed a deep list of accolades, including status as a 2010 First Team Junior College All American.
“He was kind of our nucleus on defense, and he did whatever he was asked without complaint,” MJC coach Eric Fischer said. “If a four-year program out there is in need of a goalie or wants to improve their program, Garrett would be a top pick.”
Porter was the team MVP, and also snared first team All Big-8 and first team All NorCal honors. He made 234 saves in a 21-match schedule that represented MJC’s best season in four years.
“We had a great team,’ Porter said. “We saw some pretty good competition and ended up with a good season.”
Porter wasn’t the only former Mustang to take on the grueling collegiate pool-pace with MJC. Aaron Ziebell (red shirt), Bryan Billings, Matt Tamo and Chris Terwilliger also played for the Pirates. Between new bonds and the reuniting of some old ones, it was quite the year for Porter and Co.
“The Oakdale guys are pretty close, but the whole team got to be pretty close as well,” Porter said. “It was a big change from high school, and I think I liked it a lot more.”
Porter noted that opposing forwards seemed much stronger and far more skilled than his days in the Mustang pool. He said the shots came harder and much faster as he attempted to rise out of the water to make plays.
But Porter also improved, and his strengths shined at transition stage to the four-year system.
“Garrett’s body changed dramatically from July to November, and he became nothing like what he was close to start the season,” Fischer said. “He was competing against young men, and he did a great job as our team leader.”
Porter hasn’t committed to a four-year transfer yet, and could join another tough group of Pirates (12 freshmen) that may return 6-6 2010 goal-leader, Tim Richards, next year.
“The plan right now is to start swimming, and if any offers come across I will consider them,” Porter said. “I’m excited for next year, though. I’m ready to start it back up again.”