Stanford women’s water polo head coach John Tanner announced the signing of five prep standouts to National Letters of Intent Wednesday.
Set to enroll at Stanford for the 2014-15 academic year and join the women’s water program for the 2015 season will be Natalie Chun (La Jolla, Calif./The Bishop’s School), Shannon Cleary (Goleta, Calif./Dos Pueblos HS), Katie Dudley (Lansing, Mich./Okemos HS), Lauren Norheim (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro HS) and Jordan Raney (Manhattan Beach, Calif./Mira Costa HS).
“This group is ready for takeoff. They are excellent athletes who have had brilliant coaches preparing them for this opportunity,” Tanner said. “And they are full of enthusiasm for Stanford University, Stanford Water Polo and their upcoming journey here."
Chun is a 5-11 driver and utility out of The Bishop’s School in La Jolla. Last prep season (2012-13) she was named to the All-CIF San Diego Section First Team after helping lead Bishops to its third straight SDS Division III title.
In 2012 she was a member of the USA Water Polo Cadet National Team, and at the Junior Olympics was named a first-team All-American after leading her club, San Diego Shores, to the U16 title.
"Natalie is an explosive, attack-minded player who is comfortable anywhere in the pool,” said Tanner. “She moves easily from role to role with her high school and club teams and seems well equipped to handle the transition to this high intensity environment."
Cleary, from Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, is a decorated two-meter player at the prep level. She helped lead DP to the CIF Southern Section Division I title in 2011 and was a first-team All-Channel League selection as a junior last year. This season she will serve as one of the team’s captains.
At the club level, Cleary has helped the Santa Barbara Water Polo Club to the U18 Junior Olympic title (2013) and at that same event was named to the Junior Olympics All-America Second Team.
"Shannon is a relentlessly mobile, tireless athlete who keeps adding to her skill set,” Tanner noted, “She had a terrific summer, culminating at Junior Olympics, when she looked ready to flourish as a college polo player."
Another two-meter offensive player in the group is Dudley, out of Okemos High School. Dudley is a versatile athlete, competing in three sports at Okemos (water polo, swimming and basketball). She has been named to the all-state team in each of the past three seasons and helped lead Okemos to the 2011 state title.
The “State of Michigan” Player of the Year in 2011, Dudley has earned her area’s player of the year honor in each of the past three years as well. She has also been part of the Midwest Olympic Development Program for the past five years, and during her summers plays club water polo for San Diego Shores, helping the club to the 2012 U16 Junior Olympic title and being named an All-American at both the U16 and U18 levels.
"Katie is a powerful and dynamic competitor who puts pressure on defenses facing or with her back to the goal,” Tanner said. “She gets comfortable fast in difficult situations, which is probably why she's done so well in multiple sports, in multiple venues."
Norheim, another two-meter defender coming to The Farm, was named to the CIF Southern Section Division II Third Team this past season. In 2012, Norheim helped lead El Toro to the CIF Division II playoffs and is an all-league performer. She is also a member of SoCal Water Polo Club, where she played in over 12 championship games over various age groups.
With SoCal, Norheim captured a gold (2012) and silver (2011) medal at the U.S. Club Championships, a gold at the Cal Cup and silver at the Junior Olympics (16U).
"Lauren is fast, alert and athletic, a major presence in front of the goal at both ends of the pool,” Tanner commented. “Her length, determination, and defensive skill set make her a nuisance to play against."
Raney, out of Mira Costa High School, is another two-meter defender joining the group, excelling on the defensive end of the pool. She has been a member of the USA Water Polo Cadet and Youth National Teams, earning a silver medal at the 2011 Youth Pan-Am Games in Puerto Rico. Most recently Raney participated at the USA Water Polo Futures 50 Classic this past October along with six current Cardinal players.
At Mira Costa, Raney was named to the All-CIF Southern Section First Team and league player of the year as a junior, and will captain the team for the upcoming season. On the club level, she has twice earned Junior Olympics All-America honors (2012-13) with Huntington Beach Water Polo Club.
"Jordan is a hard-nosed, poised one on one defender who is well prepared for the college game,” Tanner noted. “She is a highly skillful and talented player, someone who can battle on the defensive end and be a multiple threat on offense."The quintet will join a Stanford team that went 29-3 and reached the NCAA title game for the fourth straight season in 2013. The Cardinal will open the 2014 season in January.