Jeff Runyan honored as an ACWPC Division ll First Team All-American

The Concordia Courier

Senior Jeff Runyan winds up to shoot

By Doctor Thomas | 1/21/2022

Senior water polo player Jeff Runyan has been honored as an ACWPC Division ll First Team All-American. Runyan earned this same honor at Merced College before transferring to CUI. Runyan has scored 80 goals this season, only 52 goals away from breaking the all-time scoring record at Concordia. His goal for the upcoming season is to be named All American again and break the school record. 

“It feels amazing to have earned this achievement,” said Runyan. “I have worked extremely hard since my first practice of my freshman year in high school to be the very best player I could be.” He added, “I am both honored and blessed to have been named a First Team All American.” He is most proud of, “being named an All American three times in my collegiate career, once for swimming and twice for water polo, as well as placing top three on the scoring record at my previous school, Merced College, with 182 goals.” 

Due to COVID, Runyan will have the opportunity to play another season this upcoming fall. “When I graduate I will definitely miss being on the water polo team,” he said. “I will miss my awesome teammates, great coaches, and amazing support staff. They have treated me like family and without them I could not have earned this achievement.” 

“My favorite part of the game is going into battle with my teammates against a tough opponent. It is so exciting to score a goal on a ranked team, turn toward your teammates and just scream in celebration,” Runyon said. “My favorite thing in the world is scoring a nice goal and turning toward the bench and seeing how hyped up my teammates are.” 

Runyan admires the atmosphere the team has created. “We have truly become a family,” he said. “My teammates are great and supportive guys that I know I can always count on when I am in need. We have pushed each other to become better people and players. Beyond the pool, we do Bible study together, we hang out together, and we support each other. CUI men’s water polo is my second family.” 

Water polo coaches Duje Grubisic and Tijmen Egtberts praised Runyan’s leadership in and out of the pool. Grubisic said, “Jeff’s dedication, grit and constant desire to improve has brought him to this level and well deserved first team for D2. Jeff pushes his teammates to be better by example of hard work, and positive attitude. Jeff always asks questions on how he can get better or improve in his center position.” 

He added, “Jeff is very involved outside the pool with his classes and extra leadership roles in other school functions. Jeff is an example of a great teammate, water polo player and student that we are grateful to have on our team and school, and we know Jeff will do great when he is done with Concordia.”

Egtberts said, “Jeff is a very strong offensive player who can put away 4-5 or even more goals every game. He played center for us, which is not his natural position. For him to put out the production he did in a position that is not natural is incredible.” Egtberts added, “We have a very close team and that is definitely because of Jeff.”

Tags: Men's Athletics, water polo, leadership

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