North Penn boys water polo had a remarkable season that took the team all the way to the state final, and at the center of it all was junior Derek Friday.
“These guys behind me – they’re my family,” Friday said, surrounded by his teammates, moments after the state tournament came to a close. “It was great to play every single second in that game. It’s just another one for the books.”
The Knights added quite a chapter this season, as Friday – chosen as Athlete of the Year for boys water polo – propelled North Penn to a 26-5 finish and a runner-up spot in the state.
“They’re the best guys I’ve ever played with in my life,” Friday said of the team, which will have quite a nucleus returning in 2017. “It felt pretty nice, making it to the state final game. What more can you ask for?
“It was a great year. I couldn’t ask for anything else.”
Friday earned First-Team All-State honors in powering the Knights to state-tournament wins over North Allegheny – by the count of 8-6 – and Cathedral Prep, a 15-10 victory for North Penn.
North Penn fell to an experienced Cumberland Valley team in the state final but Friday will be one of the top returners for the Knights next season.
“I’m proud of what I did,” he said of the season, “and ready to come back next year and do it again.”
Friday led the Knights with 48 goals this season and scored on 52 percent of his shots. He added seven assists and was a strong defensive presence with 25 steals. He also added five blocks for a Knights team that went 4-0 at the Erie Challenge and went 4-1 at Beast of the East, falling only to eventual state champion Cumberland Valley.
Friday will also be one to watch as the winter season unfolds, competing in the freestyle.