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BRIDGEPORT, Pa. — One of four founding Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) men’s club divisions joining the Mid-Atlantic, New York and defunct Midwest/Ohio Valley groupings, the New England Division has experienced some changes over the past 25-years leading to its current composition of Boston College, Boston University, Dartmouth College, Tufts University, the University of Connecticut and Yale University.

HISTORY:  Founded in 1995, the New England Division has seen Dartmouth (1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015), Yale (2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011) and Boston College (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) along with former group members Williams College (1995, 1997, 2000, 2006), the University of Massachusetts (2002) and Middlebury College (2007) claim the group’s title over the past 25-years.

In the history of the division, Dartmouth has been the dominant power as the Big Green notched six runner-up finishes (1997, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2016, 2019) along with the program’s eight crowns to account for appearances in 14 of 25 New England Division title games.  Yale placed second five times (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006) to make a total of 11 title games with six wins, while Boston College has finished as the runner-up five times (2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015) to go along with its five championships. Boston University (2014, 2017, 2018) holds three second place marks.

The remainder of the title game berths belong to current Colonial Division members as Williams (four championships, runner-up: 1996, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005), Amherst College (runner-up: 1995), UMass (one championship) and Middlebury (one championship) combined to make the final game 12 times.

Outside the New England Division, three of the teams hold championships in the North Atlantic Division with Tufts notching victories in 1997 and 2007 to go along with eight second place marks (2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016).  Dartmouth and Boston College won the 2003 and 2006 North Atlantic titles, respectively, while the Big Green also garnered runner-up finishes in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Beyond regional competition, current New England Division programs have excelled at the National Collegiate Club, Division III National Collegiate Club and Ivy Championships.

At the Ivy Championship – contested between Ivy League institutions from 2010-to-2014, Dartmouth picked up a pair of crowns (2012, 2014) to accompany a second place finish (2011).

At the Division III Club Championship, Tufts won the 2009 championship and finished second in both 2017 and 2018.

Two New England Division schools have appeared in the National Collegiate Club Championship title game as Dartmouth College won the 1997 title and Yale placed second in 2011.

New England Division Champion/Runner-Up

  • 1995 – Williams College / Amherst College
  • 1996 – Dartmouth College / Williams College
  • 1997 – Williams College / Dartmouth College
  • 1998 – Dartmouth College / Yale University
  • 1999 – Dartmouth College / Yale University
  • 2000 – Williams College / Yale University
  • 2001 – Dartmouth College / Williams College
  • 2002 – University of Massachusetts / Yale University
  • 2003 – Yale University / Williams College
  • 2004 – Yale University / Williams College
  • 2005 – Yale University / Williams College
  • 2006 – Williams College / Yale University
  • 2007 – Middlebury College / Boston College
  • 2008 – Dartmouth College / Boston College
  • 2009 – Yale University / Dartmouth College
  • 2010 – Yale University / Dartmouth College
  • 2011 – Yale University / Dartmouth College
  • 2012 – Dartmouth College / Boston College
  • 2013 – Dartmouth College / Boston College
  • 2014 – Boston College / Boston University
  • 2015 – Dartmouth College / Boston College
  • 2016 – Boston College / Dartmouth College
  • 2017 – Boston College / Boston University
  • 2018 – Boston College / Boston University
  • 2019 – Boston College / Dartmouth College

National Collegiate Club Champion/Runner-Up

  • 1997 – Dartmouth College / University of Colorado
  • 2011 – University of Southern California / Yale University

Division III National Collegiate Club Champion/Runner-Up

  • 2009 – Tufts University / Monmouth College
  • 2017 – Washington University in St. Louis / Tufts University
  • 2018 – Washington University in St. Louis / Tufts University

Ivy Champion/Runner-Up

  • 2011 – Columbia University / Dartmouth College
  • 2012 – Dartmouth College / University of Pennsylvania
  • 2014 – Dartmouth College / University of Pennsylvania

Eastern Champion/Runner-Up

  • 1993 – Williams College / Yale University

THE TEAMS: Currently spanning Connecticut (Connecticut, Yale), New Hampshire (Dartmouth), Massachusetts (Boston College, Boston University, Tufts), the New England Division is comprised of five private and one public institution. Competition outside the division and around the remainder of New England is readily available with the Colonial (eight institutions) and North Atlantic (four institutions) fielding a combined 12 teams in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont.

Boston College

A five-time New England Division Champion and the four-time reigning titlist (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), the Eagles of Boston College have been the preeminent team  in the group thanks to an unprecedented eight consecutive title game appearances.

A five-time runner-up (2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015), Boston College has appeared in the New England Division Championship game every year since 2012 – a string unmatched by another team in the group.

The Eagles’ program has been both varsity and club during its existence as the team competed as a club team (1972-to-1985) before becoming a varsity program (1986-to-2001).  Following the evolution into a club program in 2001, the team joined the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) New England Division for a two-year run in 2001 and 2002.  Boston College then moved over to the North Atlantic Division from 2003-to-2007 prior to rejoining the New England Division.  Since then – barring a year off in 2010 – the Eagles have consistently been in the upper echelon of the collegiate club ranks.

Overall, the team holds six division championships as the Eagles claimed the 2006 North Atlantic Division crown by downing current New England nemesis Dartmouth College.

Historically, Boston College and Dartmouth have a long-running rivalry as the Eagles and Big Green have clashed six times (2006, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2019) for a division championship with B.C. coming out on top twice (2006, 2019).

More recently, the showdown between crosstown foes Boston College and Boston University has been a key match-up as the Eagles have downed the Terriers three times (2014, 2017, 2018) over the past six seasons in the New England Division title game.

A private Jesuit university in Chestnut Hill, Mass., Boston College was founded in 1863.  The school has more than 9,300 full-time undergraduates and nearly 5,000 graduate students. Its main campus is a historic district and features some of the earliest examples of collegiate gothic architecture in North America.

Boston College offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees through its eight colleges and schools: Morrissey College of Arts & Sciences, Carroll School of Management, Lynch School of Education and Human Development, Connell School of Nursing, Graduate School of Social Work, Boston College Law School, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Woods College of Advancing Studies.

For the Class of 2023, Boston College received 35,500 applications, of which it admitted 9,500 (27%). The accepted class includes students from 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and over 70 foreign countries; likewise, the Class of 2022 currently includes students from 46 states and 40 foreign countries.

For more information on the Boston College men’s collegiate club team, contact either Andrew Wilson or Omar John (menspolo@bc.edu)

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Boston University

A three-time New England Division runner-up (2014, 2017, 2018), the Terriers of Boston University are well known on the school’s Boston campus.

Led by head coach Gerard LaFond and assistant coach/Dr. Curtis HonShideler – who played at Boston University for eight years while completing both his undergraduate studies and medical school – the Terriers have risen to become a top team in the New England Division over the past several seasons.  Further, BU players are engaged outside the pool as well in social and community service functions:

  • Teaming up with the Hawaiian Cultural association to perform a Haka (ceremonial dance or challenge in Māori culture) every year.
  • Taking photos of the team around Boston in Speedos to produce a fundraising calendar.
  • Going Christmas Caroling in the winter.
  • Showing up to a men’s varsity basketball game in the team Speedos every year.
  • Doing community service events every year, like volunteering at Hub on Wheels – a bike race around Boston that benefits charities like the Boston Children’s Hospital.

“BUMPOLO has been an awesome experience for me because the club has introduced to a competitive, tight-knit group of guys that I can hang out with in and out of practice,” states Grayson Wiggins ’21. “I admire the focus that we put into each practice and the fun that we have during off-season, whether that is either boating, rock-climbing or even Christmas caroling.”

“BU Men’s Water Polo allowed me to continue being an athlete into college, while allowing me to become much closer with my teammates, who now have become my family,” adds Kurt Castro ’21. “This club feels like more than just a team, and it has really defined my college experienced.”

Francisco Santos ’20 echoes those sentiments.

“At first, BU Men’s Water Polo just seemed like any other club sport, but over the years, the team has become a second family to me.”

Located in a regional hotbed of club water polo in the Boston metro area, the Terriers primary rival over the past several seasons is across town per Castro.

“Boston College. Our game against them at the BC tournament this past season was really intense and competitive; both schools brought tons of fans who were super loud the whole game, BC’s fans even got yellow carded. It came down to the wire in the end, and was a great game.”

“Games against Dartmouth are always really intense/competitive. It always seems like we play them in important games and our teams match up really well. The games that we have with them always bring out the best in us. One of the best games of last season was our conference semifinal game against them. It was close the whole time and the stands were packed.”

During the past season, Nick Rosenberger, Pablo Kurzan, Castro, Wiggins, Hoku Eggersten, Matthew Weiser and goalie John Li (goalie) all played large parts in the team finishing among the division’s top three programs.

A three-time division runner-up with all three losses coming to Boston College, the Terriers’ goal for next season is to win the New England Division and make an appearance at the National Collegiate Club Championship.

Away from the pool, the university offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, doctorates and medical, dental, business and law degrees through 18 schools and colleges on two urban campuses. The main campus is situated along the Charles River in Boston’s Fenway-Kenmore and Allston neighborhoods, while the Boston University Medical Campus is located in Boston’s South End neighborhood.

Among its alumni and current or past faculty, the university counts eight Nobel Laureates, 23 Pulitzer Prize winners, 10 Rhodes Scholars, six Marshall Scholars, 48 Sloan Fellows, nine Academy Award winners, and several Emmy and Tony Award winners. BU also has MacArthur, Fulbright, Truman and Guggenheim Fellowship holders as well as American Academy of Arts and Sciences and National Academy of Sciences members among its past and present graduates and faculty. The school was the site of history in 1876 as professor Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in a BU lab.

Based on currently enrolled student responses within the university student database the population of the school is 50.6% white, 14% Asian, 11.6% international students, 8.6% Hispanic, and 3.2% black.  Among international students, 39% are pursuing undergraduate degrees, 37% are pursuing graduate degrees, and 23% are enrolled in other programs. BU also has the second highest number of Jewish students of any private school (after New York University) in the country with between 3,000 and 4,000.

For more information on the Boston University men’s collegiate club team, contact either Kurt Castro (kgcastro@bu.edu), Grayson Wiggins (gdw15@bu.edu) or coach Gerard LaFond (gerard.lafond@gmail.com).

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Dartmouth College

A nine-time division champion with eight New England (1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015) and one North Atlantic (2003) crown, the Big Green of Dartmouth College stand as the preeminent program in the history of water polo in the New England states.

One of only two East Coast institutions to claim the Men’s National Collegiate Club Championship joining 1994 winner the United States Military Academy, Dartmouth topped the University of Colorado in 1997 as the runner-up from the New England Division.

The 2012 and 2014 Ivy Champion with a runner-up finish in 2011, the Big Green have appeared in a total of 18 division title games over the past 24 years with nine second place finishes in the North Atlantic (2004, 2005, 2006) and New England (1997, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2016, 2019) since 1996.

The program’s history dates back to 1926 and includes sharing the 1931 Intercollegiate Swimming League national title (the equivalent of today’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) National Championship – with the University of Pennsylvania and the United States Naval Academy.  The team was disbanded following the 1931 season and returned in 1967 as a way to keep the school’s varsity swimmers in shape.

“Water polo is a combination of soccer and the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,” team co-founder Mike Harvey ’69 noted at the time.

The team continued to alternate until the mid-1980’s when the sport became a staple at Dartmouth.  In fact, Dartmouth was one of the schools to attend the New England Water Polo Association organization meeting (a group with merged with its Mid-Atlantic counterpart to form the Eastern Water Polo Association which evolved into today’s CWPA).

A founding member of the current CWPA, the school also has a prestigious academic history.

A private Ivy League research university in Hanover, N.H., Dartmouth was established in 1769 by Eleazar Wheelock  It is the ninth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution.

Although founded as a school to educate Native Americans in Christian theology and the English way of life, Dartmouth now provides undergraduate instruction in 40 academic departments and interdisciplinary programs including 57 majors in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering, and enables students to design specialized concentrations or engage in dual degree programs.  The university is comprised of five constituent schools: the original undergraduate college, the Geisel School of Medicine, the Thayer School of Engineering, the Tuck School of Business and the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. The university also has affiliations with the Dartmouth–Hitchcock Medical Center, the Rockefeller Institute for Public Policy, and the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

The university functions on a quarter system, operating year-round on four 10-week academic terms. With a student enrollment of about 6,600, Dartmouth is the smallest university among Ivy League institutions.

For the freshman class entering Fall 2020, Dartmouth received 21,394 applications of which 1,881 were accepted for an 8.8% admissions rate. Of those admitted students who reported class rank, 96% ranked in the top decile of their class.

Dartmouth guarantees to meet 100% of the demonstrated need of every admitted student who applies for financial aid at the time of admission. Dartmouth practices need-blind admissions for all applicants who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents and undocumented students in the U.S. These applicants are admitted to the college without regard to their financial circumstances. For international students, financial need is taken into consideration as one of many factors at the time of admission. At Dartmouth, free tuition is provided for students from families with total incomes of $100,000 or less and possessing typical assets.

For more information on the Dartmouth men’s collegiate club team, contact Jeffrey Sun (jeffrey.sun.21@dartmouth.edu) or coach Randy Budner (jrbudner1@aol.com).

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Tufts University

A two-time division champion (1997, 2007) and eight-time runner-up (2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016) in the North Atlantic Division, the Jumbos of Tufts University are the sole Division III institution in the New England Division.

The 2009 Division III National Collegiate Club Champion and a two-time runner-up (2017, 2018), Tufts is located on the border of Medford and Somerville, Mass. It was founded in 1852 as Tufts College and was a small New England liberal arts college until its transformation into a larger research university in the 1970s.  Tufts emphasizes active citizenship and public service in all its disciplines, and is known for its internationalism and study abroad programs.

Tufts offers over 90 undergraduate and 160 graduate programs across ten schools in the greater Boston area and Talloires, France. It has the country’s oldest graduate school of international relations, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. The largest school is the School of Arts and Sciences, which includes both the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, which is affiliated with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The School of Engineering offers an entrepreneurial focus through its Gordon Institute and maintains close connections with the original college.

The university has a campus in Downtown Boston that houses the medical, dental, and nutrition schools, as well as the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, affiliated with several medical centers in the area. Tufts offers joint undergraduate degree programs with the New England Conservatory, and the Sciences Po Paris with additional programs with the University of Paris, University of Oxford and constituents of the University of London.  Several of its programs have affiliations with the nearby institutions of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Graduate education is offered in eight of the schools. In addition to Arts and Sciences and Engineering, Tufts offers graduate degrees in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the oldest U.S. school for international relations and foreign affairs, the School of Dental Medicine, the School of Medicine, the School of Biomedical Sciences, the Friedman School of Nutrition, and the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

Tufts is considered highly selective, admitting only 15% of applicants in Fall 2018.

The school’s mascot of Jumbo is one of two college mascots to appear in Webster’s Dictionary with the other being the Billiken of St. Louis University. The mascot comes from P. T. Barnum’s circus, as Barnum was one of the original trustees of Tufts College. According to legend, Jumbo the Elephant heroically jumped in front of a train, sacrificing himself to save a younger elephant from dying. Jumbo’s stuffed skin was donated to the school, and was displayed until a 1975 fire destroyed the body, except for the tail, which had been removed for conservation work. Now, a statue of the elephant is a prominent landmark on the quad, near Barnum Hall, the Biology building. Some of Jumbo’s ashes were recovered in a peanut butter jar that has remained in the athletics director’s office where students continue to rub it for good luck.

For more information on the Tufts men’s collegiate club team, contact Andrew Barber (andrew.barber@tufts.edu).

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University of Connecticut

Led by former University of California-Los Angeles water polo/school President Thomas Katsouleas, the University of Connecticut concluded the 2019 season by tying the school’s varsity football team in record.

A co-ed team and the only public university in the New England Division, the Huskies enjoy an inter-state rivalry with fellow Connecticut institution Yale University to see which team is tops in the “Constitution State”.

Connecticut continues to build its membership with long range goals of starting both men’s and women’s club programs and placing among the Top Four teams in the final New England Division standings.  In addition, the Huskies hunger to have more fun than any other team in the division – a milestone difficult to measure, but pleasurable in pursuing each weekend during the season.

Led by team captain Michael Zhu, intrepid two-meter Jeremy Ryerson, utility guru Liz Klock and standout freshman Melanie Lewis, UConn continues to climb its way up the New England Division standings with eyes on advancing to the National Collegiate Club Championship in the near future.

Located in Storrs, Conn., the school is approximately thirty-minutes from Hartford and 90 minutes from Boston. It is a flagship university that is ranked as tied for the best public national university in New England in the 2020 U.S. News & World Report rankings.  The university has been recognized as a Public Ivy, defined as a select group of publicly funded universities considered to provide a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League.

UConn was founded in 1881 as the Storrs Agricultural School, named after two brothers who donated the land for the school. Students at UConn can pursue over 100 majors, eight undergraduate degrees, 17 graduate degrees and five professional degree programs.  Students choose from 87 different minors at UConn, including areas of study not offered as formalized majors.

Bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs are offered through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Graduate School, the Neag School of Education, the School of Nursing, the School of Business, the School of Dental Medicine, the School of Medicine, the School of Engineering, the School of Social Work, the Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture, the School of Pharmacy, the School of Law and the School of Fine Arts.

Founded in 1921, the University of Connecticut School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. The campus is located just outside the downtown core of Hartford, minutes away from the Connecticut State Capitol, state courts and agencies, and the offices of Hartford’s law firms and corporations.

As of 2017, of the entering freshman at the main campus in Storrs, 54% ranked in the top tenth of their high school class and 89% in the top quarter.  UConn’s retention rate is among the best for public universities in the nation, with 93% of students returning for their sophomore year.  UConn ranks third out of 58 public research universities on basis of graduation time, with the average time to graduate being 4.2 years among those who graduate within six years.

The schools mascot of Huskies is not unique, but the name of the dog is unusual and has a connection to the water polo team  All UConn huskies are named “Jonathan” in honor of Jonathan Trumbull, the governor of Connecticut during the American Revolution. A statue of Jonathan the Husky can be found outside near the entrance to the natatorium where students are known to rub its nose for good luck.

For more information on the Connecticut men’s/co-ed collegiate club team, contact Atacan Zeran (Atacan.zeran@uconn.edu).

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Yale University

A six-time (2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011) champion and five-time (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2006) runner-up in the New England Division, the Bulldogs of Yale University are among two teams in the group to appear in a National Collegiate Club Championship (NCCC) title game.

The 2011 NCCC runner-up to the University of Southern California at Georgia Institute of Technology’s (Georgia Tech) McAuley Aquatics Center – the site of the 1996 Olympics – Yale accepts players of all skill level and experience with no cuts or tryouts.

Every year the men’s team organizes preseason training. The training begins around August 15 and lasts approximately two weeks. Matriculating freshman are encouraged to attend preseason training since it is a great way to meet the team and get in shape before school starts.

Located in New Haven, Conn., Yale is one of two Ivy League institutions in the New England Division joining Dartmouth College.  Founded in 1701, Yale is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution.  The school moved to New Haven in 1716 and shortly after was renamed Yale College in recognition of a gift from British East India Company governor Elihu Yale.  In the 19th century, the college expanded into graduate and professional instruction, awarding the first PhD in the United States in 1861 and organizing as a university in 1887.

Yale is organized into 14 constituent schools: the original undergraduate college, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and twelve professional schools. While the university is governed by the Yale Corporation, each school’s faculty oversees its curriculum and degree programs. The university’s assets include an endowment valued at $30.3 billion as of September 2019, the second largest endowment of any educational institution in North America.  The Yale University Library, serving all constituent schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States.

Yale College undergraduates follow a liberal arts curriculum with departmental majors and are organized into a social system of residential colleges. Almost all members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences – and some members of other faculties – teach undergraduate courses, more than 2,000 of which are offered annually.

In 2017, Yale accepted 2,285 students to the Class of 2021 out of 32,914 applicants, for an acceptance rate of 6.9%.  Approximately 98% of students graduate within six years.

Through its program of need-based financial aid, Yale commits to meet the full demonstrated financial need of all applicants. Most financial aid is in the form of grants and scholarships that do not need to be paid back to the university, and the average need-based aid grant for the Class of 2017 was $46,395.

For more information on the Yale men’s collegiate club team, contact Benjamin Kieff (benjamin.kieff@yale.edu).

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