Water Polo Signs Eight to National Letters of Intent

Nov. 13, 2017

SAN DIEGO - San Diego State water polo head coach Carin Crawford has announced the signing of eight standouts to National Letters of Intent. The group will arrive on campus ahead of the 2018-19 academic year at SDSU.

Grace Halliday is a goalkeeper from Riverside who has played on successful teams at Riverside Poly High. The 5-10 signee started on the varsity squad from the moment she stepped foot on campus. In three seasons, Halliday has helped the Bears to the CIF finals each year. Individually, Halliday has been a first-team all-league and all-CIF honoree, and has been named an All-American in her prep career. Halliday is also an accomplished swimmer on the Bears team, competing in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle.

“Grace has high-level water polo experience with both Riverside Poly High and SoCal club,” Crawford said. “She is one of the top goalkeepers in her class and we expect that she will be able to compete for playing time right away. Her father, Mike, is an Aztec for Life, so we are excited to welcome a second-generation Aztec into our program.”

Delaney Binette is currently attending Foothill High in Tustin and will arrive on campus this summer in time for the fall semester. In her first varsity season as a sophomore, she helped the Knights to the Crestview League title and to the CIF championship game. A multi-year scholar-athlete, Binette also competed on the Foothill swim team.

“Delaney is one of the top left-handed attackers in the nation, playing for powerhouse Foothill High and SoCal club,” Crawford said. “In addition to seeing the pool and contributing in the passing game, Delaney is a scoring threat from the 4-5 side. She no stranger to competing at the highest level of age-group water polo and for that reason, she will be expected to make an immediate impact on our program."

Spencer Samuel is a local product out of Valhalla High in El Cajon. The utility has been a starter in her three years at VHS and has helped the Norsemen to the CIF Open Division playoffs each season, advancing as far as the semifinals in 2016, after claiming three Grossmont League titles. A scholar-athlete in 2017 in both water polo and swim, the two-time team captain is a multi-year All-American, all-CIF performer and two-time Grossmont League Player of the Year (2016, 2017). Samuel enters her senior season with 253 goals, 148 assists and 261 steals in her career.

“Spencer is a versatile utility player with great size and speed,” Crawford said. “She uses her speed and quickness well on both sides of the ball, but I expect her to make a difference for us right away on the defensive end of the pool. Spencer will be one of the top players in the San Diego Section this season and I believe she has her best water polo in front of her.”

Riley Sidebotham will come to Montezuma Mesa from Corona del Mar High in Newport Beach. A two-time USA Water Polo Academic All-American, Sidebotham helped the Sea Queens to a Pacific Coast League championship as junior and has also competed on the swim team. She also has international experience, playing in New Zealand and Australia with her club team.

“Riley will bring size and defensive toughness to our program,” Crawford said. “At 5-10, she will continue our trend of signing tall, experienced and tenacious defensive players. Her shooting on the perimeter is also a strength that I expect she will bring to Corona del Mar’s team this season and in the future for the Aztecs.”

Sydney Hurst will bring a winning pedigree to the Aztecs, having won two CIF championships with Royal High in Simi Valley. In her prep career, Hurst has earned multiple all-Coastal Canyon accolades, including a first-team appointment in 2016. On the club circuit, Hurst has been selected to the ODP Development Team multiple times and was a Junior Olympic champion in 2015.

“Sydney is a true utility player who is a threat from anywhere in the pool,” Crawford said. “Sydney can play defense, post-up, set and shoot from the outside. She was a key contributor to Rose Bowl’s 16-U gold-medal run at the Junior Olympics last summer, scoring multiple goals in the championship game. Sydney is a high-level player who will help us right away in whichever position she plays.”

Jessica Leckich signs with SDSU out of Santa Margarita Catholic High in Rancho Santa Margarita. A varsity member split between Capistrano Valley High and Santa Margarita, Leckich is coming off a junior campaign that saw her score 44 goals, which was the second-highest total on the team, while leading SMCHS in assists (27) and steals (31). The all-league selection is an excellent student, earning USA Water Polo Academic All-America accolades.

“Jessica is an attacker who will be expected to be a key player this season for Santa Margarita Catholic High,” Crawford said. “She also played for SET Pink at JOs, and helped her team to an impressive top-10 finish. Jessica has size, quickness and an aggressiveness that will translate well to the college game.”

Samantha Loughlin will join prep teammate Leckich at San Diego State following graduation in the spring. The set defender has played on varsity all three seasons, leading the Eagles to upper-division finishes in the Trinity League. An Honor Roll student, Loughlin swam for SMCHS and led it to a pair of first-place performances.

“Samantha is a solid all-around player who also competes for Santa Margarita Catholic High and SET Pink,” Crawford said. “Samantha’s coach, Brian Weathersby, describes her as the consummate team player who is a stabilizer on defense. Over the summer, she developed into a solid all-around player, establishing a presence at center when called upon to do so. Both of Samantha’s parents are Aztecs for Life, so we are thrilled Samantha will continue the family tradition at SDSU.”

Madison Weiglein will make the trek south from Foothill High in Pleasanton this summer. The all-East Bay Athletic League selection has been one of Foothill’s top performers, leading the team in steals, assists and field blocks. The team captain and MVP is also an excellent student, earning USA Water Polo Academic All-America and CIF-North Coast Section Scholar-Athlete recognition multiple times. Weiglein has also played overseas with Diablo Alliance Club, traveling to Italy and Australia in the last year.

“Madison is a defender from the Diablo Alliance Club in Northern California,” Crawford said. “Madison is a tall, long defender who is coached by Olympian Maureen O’Toole, and her father Andre, an NCAA champion defender who played at California. She is a determined and focused student of the game. Madison has huge upside as a player and has the work ethic to accomplish her goals as a collegiate athlete.

“We are thrilled to have such a deep and talented class join our Aztec water polo program,” Crawford added. “All of these athletes were recruited by some of the top teams in the nation and we are thrilled they chose SDSU. These outstanding athletes, all from the top club and high school programs in California, will help us continue our tradition of success at the highest levels of the Golden Coast Conference and NCAA water polo competition.”

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