Originally from the East Coast, Orange Lutheran senior Christy Marchese arrived on campus as a sophomore with the intent of playing water polo for the Lancers. She got her start at age 11, and her family knew that California would be able to provide more of an opportunity for her in the sport – so they headed west to OLu.
“At Orange Lutheran, one of the things I enjoy is just having that team bond with people day-to-day,” says Marchese. “You don’t only just have your friends at school and then your friends at water polo – they’re interlocked.”
Marchese’s playing background was on the defensive side of the ball, but she made the commitment to switch to offense in high school and is a right-handed attacker for the Lancers. Her work ethic and leadership are an example to many.
“Christy is a true leader,” says OLu girls water polo head coach, Ed Carrera. “She leads by example and is mentally one of the toughest players I’ve ever coached. Her presence and perseverance are contagious.”
Adjusting to a new environment, alongside navigating the college recruiting process, proved difficult for the 17-year old. She admits her stubbornness forced her to learn some things the hard way, but her father was there to help guide her through the challenges.
“I had to swallow my pride a bit when it came to certain things and just accept the fact that things are the way they are,” says Marchese. “My dad really helped me to understand and handle that.”
Marchese knows that strength comes from the struggle, and she is grateful for how the sport has forced her to grow. Her faith and her time at OLu have allowed her to better understand how to move forward from failure.
“I think the main thing that I treasure that I got from water polo is that I developed this confidence to achieve, and the self-worth to love myself when I don’t,” says Marchese. “The program definitely allowed me to grow closer to God…and understand the true reliance I have to have on him to get through hard times.”
Away from the pool, Marchese is a member of the Computer Club on campus, where she and fellow classmates compete in national cyber networking competitions. She hopes to land at a research university where she can study electrical engineering and nanotechnology, as well as play water polo. She credits her parents, specifically her father, for being strong mentors.
“He went through a lot of hardship when he was younger, and he overcame it, so I like to think of him as the epitome of the American Dream,” says Marchese. “I think that he demonstrates hard work and what the product of hard work can yield. Not only that, but the sacrifices he made for me and my sister, sheerly out of love.”