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SDSU Water Polo Inks Four More Signees

Taylor Gums is one of four to sign NLIs, head coach Carin Crawford announced Wednesday.
Taylor Gums is one of four to sign NLIs, head coach Carin Crawford announced Wednesday.

Nov. 16, 2011

SAN DIEGO - San Diego State women's water polo head coach Carin Crawford announced Wednesday the signing of Nikole Ferrari, Taylor Gums, Frankie Libutti and Claire McKinnon to National Letters of Intent.

"I am pleased to welcome these four accomplished water polo players to SDSU next fall," Crawford said. "These athletes are committed to do what it takes to help us sustain the level of excellence we have maintained for over a decade. They understand what it means to be an Aztec water polo player, and I know they are all up to the challenge of helping us continue our winning ways."

Ferrari is a product of Redwood City, Calif., and inks with the Aztecs out of St. Francis High School and NorCal Water Polo. A three-year member of the water polo team at St. Francis, Ferrari was an all-league first-team selection and San Jose Mercury News second-team choice last year as a junior. During the 2010-11 campaign, Ferrari logged 35 goals, 20 assists, 40 steals and 12 blocks. Ferrari is a multi-sport athlete as she swims and plays basketball for St. Francis and owns a black belt in karate.

"Nikole is smart, versatile and determined," Crawford said. "She is a proven leader and has helped her St. Francis team to the CIF finals with clutch performance after clutch performance. She is a very intelligent player who sees the pool well and has the ability to score from any position. She will be a tremendous asset to our team."

Hailing from Lodi, Calif., Gums is a three-time all-league performer, who earned first-team accolades in each of the last two seasons for Lodi High School. Gums was also a two-time all-section choice and 2010 All-America honorable mention student-athlete after leading Lodi to the league championship. She also has four years of USA Water Polo ODP experience, including 2011's run to the regional title, and is a three-year member of the American River Water Polo Club. In addition to her water polo responsibilities, Gums swims for the Lodi varsity team.

"Taylor is, physically, very gifted with strength and speed that will translate well to the college game," Crawford said. "She has all the tools to develop into a high-performance water polo athlete at San Diego State."

Libutti is an attacker from Upland High School and CHAWP water polo club. A four-year varsity starter, Libutti has been awarded both all-league and all-CIF honors every season since her freshman year. During her junior season, she scored over 140 goals and led the Highlanders to CIF Division IV semifinals after scoring seven of the team's eight goals in the quarterfinals against Troy. That campaign, Libutti earned first-team all-league, first-team all-CIF, sixth-team all-CIF Southern Section, and All-America honors. With CHAWP, Libutti helped her 18U team placed fifth in the Junior Olympics platinum bracket last season.

"Frankie has been a proven goal scorer for her Upland High School water polo team and has high-level club experience playing for Greg Salvinski at CHAWP Water Polo Club," Crawford said. "Frankie moves well in the water and has excellent stamina in the attacker position. She will fit in well with our up-tempo style of play."

McKinnon signs with SDSU ahead of her graduation from Mater Dei High School. Hailing from Newport Beach, Calif., McKinnon is a three-year varsity team captain, who earned first-team all-Trinity League accolades her freshman season. During her first year at Mater Dei, McKinnon also played on an ODP team and helped her 16U Junior Olympic team to a second place finish at the platinum level. An injury took away McKinnon's sophomore year, but she rebounded last year as a junior and earned second-team all-CIF accolades while being selected to the junior national training team.

"Claire is a tremendous all-around athlete who has played for one of the top high school programs in the nation under the direction of Chris Segesman at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif.," Crawford said. "Claire is quick and fast with tremendous core balance and leg strength. She has the talent, ambition and work ethic to succeed in our program. We will be expecting Claire to emerge as a leader and an impact player right away, and I know she welcomes that challenge."