Orange Observer: Sports Spotlight — Shelby Sorrells

Shelby Sorrells, a graduating senior at Olympia, was a defensive stalwart for the girls water polo team.

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  • | 12:00 p.m. May 28, 2020
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Courtesy photo
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A graduating senior at Olympia, Shelby Sorrells just finished her four years with the girls water polo team. As a utility player, she played wherever she was needed, but it was back at center defender where she really hit her stride as she helped lead the defense.  

When and how did you first get into water polo?

I started playing toward the end of middle school because my older sister was playing for our high school team, and our coach was looking for middle-school kids to try and start a 14-and-under team. (Because) I was a sibling, she reached out to me.

Since you first started at Olympia, what has been the biggest change you’ve seen in yourself relating to your game?

Definitely in the beginning of my freshman year, I was really timid every time I played, and I would be really scared and didn’t even want that much playing time. Now, I’ve become more of a primary player and starter — I love getting playing time. I’ve definitely become one of our more aggressive players — to the point to where my coach wished I was a little less aggressive sometimes.

Do you have a highlight moment for you that stands out during your time at Olympia?

I’d say winning districts my junior year last year, because that was a really big moment for us because we had lost districts the year before. Being able to come back and beat the team that had beaten us the year before was very special to all of us, and I got to play with my best friend, so that was a lot of fun.

What are the best words of advice you’ve been given about your sport?

(Coach) always tells us to just believe in ourselves, and that we are capable of doing what we want to do. She also always says you can do anything for six minutes, because that’s how long each quarter is. Even if we feel like we’re dying, she’ll just be like, “You guys can do anything for six minutes, you know?” So that’s motivation every game.

What is your favorite part about your position?

Moving around to every position is interesting, because it takes practice to learn do each one — the offense and the defense for each one is different. Center defender is my favorite position — that is in the middle, right in front of the cage — and it’s usually defending some of the biggest players on the other team. I’m really defensive-oriented. 

What is the most challenging part about your position?

I’m usually smaller than the opponents I’m playing on, so (because) I don’t have as much strength as them, usually I have to use more skill. That position took a lot of time to build up the skills for.

You’ll be attending the University of Florida in the fall. What are you most excited about?

They have a really successful club team there, so honestly one of the things I’m really looking forward to is to join their club team, because I don’t want to give up water polo. My best friend and teammate, Sofia Dahlmann, is also going there, so I’m just looking forward to getting to keep playing with her — especially (because) we didn’t get to have a final game together in high school.


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