Orange Lutheran senior Zack Baxter was about nine years old when he left the soccer pitch and headed for the pool. Childhood friend and fellow Lancer senior Miles Wilson encouraged the former soccer goalkeeper to try water polo, and he’s been playing the sport with Wilson and senior Mason Killion ever since.
Baxter plays attacker for the Lancers, and as a transfer student, he has found a home at OLu.
“Being a Lancer comes with a duty to be a good role model and represent the school well,” says Baxter. “There’s a sense of pride…and I definitely enjoy being a part of that.”
As one of five senior leaders on the roster this season, Baxter’s role as a mentor is a large part of how he has made his mark in the program.
“Zack is someone who values our program, and you can see that not only through his work ethic, but also in how he mentors our younger players,” says OLu boys water polo head coach Steve Carrera. “Zack understands what it means to be a Lancer and the responsibility he shoulders representing himself, his family and Christ. He has played a significant role on our team this year in the pool, but I believe his impact will make a long lasting impression on those that he has mentored.”
The varsity team has logged some key victories as of late, including wins over Mater Dei, Santa Margarita and Huntington Beach. As Baxter and his teammates push for a CIF title, he reflects on the life lessons the sport has taught him.
“You’ve got to be all in, just like in life,” says the 17-year old. “If you don’t give everything, you don’t have the right to be dissatisfied or displeased with the results. You’ve got to keep pushing, even when life gets tough.”
Baxter serves OLu as an Ignite leader, specifically working with transfer students. Away from the pool, he enjoys surfing with his teammates, and he credits the camaraderie they have in part to the faith they share.
“Every time I play, I always know I’m playing for a bigger cause,” says Baxter. “It definitely brings a sense of fellowship that we all have this combined faith that we share. It brings us closer, and it definitely is apparent when we’re playing.”
Baxter is looking to continue playing water polo at the collegiate level and is interested in studying physiology or kinesiology. His parents are his biggest supporters and have helped him walk through the highs and lows that have come his way.
“My parents both work so hard for me, and they’ve both supported me through everything for my whole life,” says Baxter. “I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me.”