High School Sports

The Bee’s All-District: How one Johansen boys water polo player rose above the rest

Johansen’s Shelby Johnson (left) scores a goal as Enochs’ Dylan Lahti defends during the Modesto Metro Conference match at Johansen High School in Modesto, Calif., on Tuesday, September 20, 2016.
Johansen’s Shelby Johnson (left) scores a goal as Enochs’ Dylan Lahti defends during the Modesto Metro Conference match at Johansen High School in Modesto, Calif., on Tuesday, September 20, 2016. aalfaro@modbee.com

Nearly 250 goals in the last two years. Check.

Two league MVP’s (Modesto Metro Conference in 2017, Western Athletic Conference in 2018). Check.

Taking his team to the semifinals for the first time in school history. Check.

Johansen senior Shelby Johnson has certainly left his mark on the Vikings water polo program.

Another accomplishment Johnson can add is being named The Bee’s Boys Water Polo Player of the Year.

“We had a really good season this year,” Johnson said. “We went just about as far as we really wanted to. We got second place in three tournaments this year. We liked to go out and have a little fun and it was a good season for all of us.”

Johnson played his entire career with his twin, Will, and alongside the Sabatini twins (Dominic and Nelson). The group led the Vikings to a 25-7 season and a semifinal appearance against Granite Bay.

“My freshman year, we always heard about how good the program used to be and that year was a rebuilding year for us,” Johnson said. “My junior and senior years, we were able to compete at a very competitive level that hasn’t been here in a long time.”

One of Johnson’s favorite memories was the team trip to Oregon in late September, when they got second place in the Newburg Tournament.

“It was a real team-bonding experience,” he said. “Some of the guys that went with us had never been on a plane before. The trip brought the team together.”

Next up for Johnson is the swim season where he will swim the 50 and 100 meter freestyle along with being on the 200 and 400 relays.

After graduation, Johnson is planning on attending Modesto Junior College with his brother where they will play water polo.

Even with his water polo career over at Johansen, Johnson will always remember his team at the school.

“This program means a lot to me,” he said. “All the hard work and dedication I put in and all the summers I spent at Johansen has really paid off.”

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The Bee’s All-District Schedule

Dec. 21: Girls Cross Country (Madison Kackley)

Dec. 22: Boys Cross Country: (Alan Guerrero)

Dec. 23: Football (Dawaiian McNeely and Michael Kamps)

Dec. 24: Girls Golf (Madison Blanc)

Dec. 25: Girls Tennis (Colleen Ballatore)

Dec. 26: Volleyball (Tori Galloway)

Dec. 27: Girls Water Polo (Lauryn Leventini)

Dec. 28: Boys Water Polo (Shelby Johnson)

Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.
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