Women's Water Polo Adds Six in Class of 2017

Women's Water Polo Adds Six in Class of 2017

Harvard will add six newcomers in 2014 (Justine Agaloos). 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard women's water polo coach Ted Minnis has announced the addition of six freshman for the 2014 season: Melissa Balding, Alexis Del Toro, Jillian Dukes, Michelle Martinelli, Eela Nagaraj and Zoe Osborne. The Class of 2017 is composed of four student-athletes from California and one each from Florida and Alberta, Canada.

"This incoming class of young women adds depth to our team and will be a presence in and out of the water," Minnis said. "They all come from great high school and club programs and have had a lot of success in water polo and in their academics."

The recruits will join the 2013 Crimson that became the first team since the 2000-02 run to post three consecutive winning seasons with an 18-16 overall record and 3-3 mark in regular season CWPA Southern Division games. Harvard will return nine members of the 2013 squad, including second team All-CWPA Southern Division performers Yoshi Andersen and Ariel Dukes.

The Class of 2017

Melissa Balding, Costa Mesa, Calif., Edison
Selected as captain as a senior and earned four varsity letters in water polo … Fifth on Edison's all-time goals list … Edison record holder for most ejections drawn in a game … Two-time All-League first-team selection … All-League second-team honoree as a freshman and sophomore … In 2013, All-CIF second-team selection … All-Southern California third-team selection as a senior … Led her club team to two Cal Cup Championships in 2010 and 2011 … Helped the US to a second-place finish at the 2012 18U Junior Olympics … First team All-American selection at the Junior Olympics in 2012 … Three-time USA Water Polo Academic All-American … Named Edison's Model United Nations Most Outstanding Junior … Member of Edison's Fellowship of Christian Athletes Leadership team.

Alexis Del Toro, Laguna Beach, Calif., Laguna Beach
Selected as captain as a senior and earned four varsity letters in water polo … Led Laguna Beach to two Orange Coast League Championships …Three-time Orange Coast All-League Selection … Two-time All-CIF honoree… All-County selection as a senior … Named to the Tournament of Champions All-Tournament Team in 2013 … Team Offensive Player of the Year in 2013 … Coach's Award recipient in 2011 … Named Rookie of the Year in 2010 … Also a four-year letterwinner in swimming and named captain as a senior … Led Laguna Beach to three consecutive Orange Coast League Championships … Member of the 200-medley relay record team … Three-time Orange Coast League Scholar Athlete … Two-time Academic All-American … Academic Excellence Award in Biology, Honors Geometry, Honors Algebra II and AP English Language … Superintendents Honor Roll … Rotary Student of the Month … President of Love Your Kidneys Club …Communications and Media Manager of the non-profit organization Kidney for Life … Member of National Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation … Volunteered at Ocean Beach Camp and also taught volunteer swim lessons at community pool … Juntos tutor.

Jillian Dukes, Winter Park, Fla., Winter Park
Selected as captain as a senior and earned four varsity letters in water polo … Led Winter Park to three consecutive district and metro championships … Helped Winter Park to three straight state runner-up finishes … All-Metro first-team selection as a senior … All Central-Florida second-team choice in 2012 … Most Valuable Defensive Water Polo Player as a senior … Most Improved Water Polo Player in 2011 … NISCA Water Polo All-American fifth team …Invited to the Olympic Development Program National Training and Selection Camp for water polo in 2012 … Olympic Development Program Southeast Zone Water Polo team member in 2010 and 2011 … Junior Olympic Water Polo team member in 2011 and 2012 … Also a four-year letterwinner in swimming …Captained the team as a senior … Metro and district swim meet qualifier … Two-time Outstanding Water Polo Academic All-American … Scholar Athlete as a junior … National Merit Scholar Finalist … FHSAA All-State Academic Team in 2013 … AP Scholar with Distinction as a senior … Orlando Sentinel Classroom Star in 2012 … Member of National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, and Science Honor Society … Volunteered at Eatonville Boys and Girls Club … Her sister, Ariel Dukes '15, plays water polo at Harvard.

Michelle Martinelli, San Diego, Calif., Torrey Pines
Two-time captain, four-year letterwinner … Led Torrey Pines to three consecutive Palomar League championships … Helped Torrey Pines to three straight Division 1 CIF runner-up finishes … As a senior, All-CIF, All-League and All-County first team selection … All-County second team selection as a junior …All-CIF Division 1 honorable mention in 2011 … Palomar League second team as a sophomore … CA-Hawaii All-American eight team in 2012 … In 2013, San Diego Open Varsity Tournament first team selection … Two-time Offense MVP … Named Most Outstanding Athlete as a senior … "I am Torrey Pines" Award recipient in 2013 … Coach's Award recipient in 2011 … Two-time USA Water Polo Academic All-American Outstanding Achievement … Two-time San Diego All-Academic Team Member
Four-time Scholar Athlete …Also lettered in swim … AP Scholar with Distinction … Interned at UCSD Lab … In 2013, voted Most Likely to Succeed …Member of National Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation … Coached Del Mar Water Polo.

Eela Nagaraj, Los Altos Hills, Calif., Saint Franics
Selected as captain as a senior and earned three varsity letters in water polo … Led Saint Francis to a CCS championship and WCAL championship as senior … Helped Saint Francis to WCAL co-champion status as a junior … Two-time All-WCAL first team selection … All-CCS second team as a senior and CCS honorable mention as a junior … All-Daily News second-team selection as a senior … Also a four-year letterwinner in swimming … CIF/CCS Farmers Female Scholar Athlete … National Merit Scholarship Winner … Won department awards in chemistry, algebra II/trig and French … Varsity scholar athlete … 4.0 award recipient … High Honor Roll student … Membership Coordinator of Baking Club … Treasurer of Foreign Language Honor Society … Board Member of Teen Awareness Program … Teacher's Assistant for California Scholarship Federation … Member of National Honor Society … Volunteer at Kids Read, Westwind Therapeutic Horseback Riding and Pinehill Residential Care Center … Water polo coach at the Santa Clara Valley Water Polo club … Her uncle, Vikram Nagaraj, graduated from Harvard in 1989.

Zoe Osborne, Okotoks, Alta., Edison
Competed for the Calgary Renegades for four seasons and captained the team in 2013 … Led the U18 and U16 Renegades to  national championships in 2012 and 2010, respectively … In 2010, helped lead the U16 team to an undefeated season … Placed fourth with the U18 Renegades at the national championships in 2013 … Led the U16 Renegades to a silver medal at the 2011 national championships … Two-time AB Open U18 All-Star team selection … In 2013, BC Open U18 All-Star Team selection … Named AB Open U16 All-Star team MVP in 2011 … U16 National Championships All-Star team selection in 2011 … Named Renegades U16 Best Defense and MVP … Earned first class honors in grades 9-12 … Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award recipient.