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Papa inspirational for CdM

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Senior team captain, a four-year starter, provides leadership for Sea Kings as CIF playoffs loom.

February 09, 2013|By Matt Szabo
  • Corona del Mar High senior Cassidy Papa is the Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week.
Corona del Mar High senior Cassidy Papa is the Daily Pilot… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

Sam Bailey pulled the book from his office desk Tuesday afternoon, looking for a specific passage.

The book? "The Team Captain's Leadership Manual," by Jeff Janssen.

The player who the Corona del Mar High girls' water polo coach felt the passage so aptly described? Senior co-captain Cassidy Papa.

"No matter what obstacles, adversities or distractions might stand in their way, compelled people are going to find a way," Bailey read out loud. "They won't rest until they get the job done. They prepare, train and compete at the highest level. This means they never go through the motions or skip workouts. They eat well and get the proper rest, and they take advantage of every opportunity to get better. Compelled people do not only have high expectations of themselves, but of their teammates too. They hold themselves and their teammates to a higher standard."

Bailey looked up from the book.

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"And that's Cassidy," he said.

The Stanford-bound Papa is a supremely talented water polo player. She is a four-year varsity starter in one of the most fiercely competitive prep programs in the nation. Not only is she a team captain for CdM, but she was a team captain for the U.S. women's youth national team at December's FINA Youth World Championships. Papa helped lead Team USA to a fourth-place finish in Perth, Australia at the inaugural event.

Her leadership qualities are immense for the Sea Kings (23-4). Just watch one of their games and it's obvious. She is the one who always is communicating with her teammates in the water, telling them where to pass the ball or reminding them not to trade goals with the opponent.

"I definitely take [being a team captain] seriously," Papa said. "I'm in charge of getting me and my teammates ready. I know they can rely on me during the game to do things and play well, but I also need to make sure the team's morale and everything is just together. I just like to be the glue in the pool and keep everyone happy. It's a lot more responsibility than I was expecting ... [but] it's an honor and it's been a really cool experience. I'm just trying to make my team as [good] as we can [be], rather than just looking to improve myself."

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