Supportive team helps Runyan become Concordia’s career-goal record holder

The Concordia Courier

Concordia Irvine

By Elliana Forgione | 11/11/2022

On Oct. 26. water polo athlete and senior Jeff Runyan became Concordia’s newest record holder with an outstanding accomplishment: 131 goals scored. 

Water polo takes strength, dedication and immense effort to be a skilled player. Runyan, who was previously honored with the title ACWPC DII All American, knows this. As a center position player, Runyan has to make sure he is always at the ready. Constantly alert scanning the pool's perimeter anticipating the ball will be in his hands in a matter of seconds. 

Runyan knows that the sport he plays and the records he has broken, is for himself but also for God, “God gave me my talents, and it is for His glory that I play.” 

Talent and hardwork aside, Runyan is quick to note the support of his teammates, “It was never my intention to break the scoring record when I transferred to Concordia, but because of my teammates setting me up so often, it just fell into place. Without their great passes, setups and work on the perimeter, I never would have been able to score as many goals as I have. In my position of center, I am completely at the mercy of my teammates when it comes to getting the ball. I owe this record to them!” 

The water polo team is extremely dedicated to their craft and commitment to teamwork. Despite the wins and losses, the team works together to lift each other up and help one another succeed. Austin Wade, senior, said, “I am a very competitive person, so whatever I do, I always try to give my 110%,” Wade continued, “I just love the aspect of setting a teammate up for a goal. I don't really like shooting the ball, but I have always loved giving a good dime to a teammate.” 

Teamwork is an essential part of the sport and that is how Runyan has been able to achieve such a remarkable season. Head coach Dreason Barry attested, “This is a great group of guys that care for one another.”  

The water polo team continues to push through, having many seniors on the team leaving at the end of the season, such as Wade and Runyan who do plan on pursuing opportunities to play water polo post graduation. “I will always play water polo for the rest of my life; as long as I can swim, I will play. I will always be the guy dishing out the dimes,” said Wade. 

Runyan also wants to continue the sport he loves, “After graduation, I will most likely play Master’s water polo with a local club team for fun.”

Even with the seniors’ departure and the new adjustment for the team, Runyan believes in his team and has no doubt they will be successful, “An impact I hope to have left on my teammates is a competitive spirit. I hope that they continue to push each other at practice, fight tooth and nail in games, and always strive to become better. I hope that one day in a couple years from now I can check on some of my teammates and see how well they’re playing, or that one of them will break my record. Nothing would make me happier.”


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