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One school year, three state champions

Belen water polo team caps undefeated season with win over Orlando's Dr. Phillips High

Members of Belen Jesuit Prep's water polo team rejoice after defeating the team from Orlando's Dr. Phillips High School 17-13 to win the FHSAA state championship and complete an undefeated season.

Photographer: COURTESY | Victor Arrieta

Members of Belen Jesuit Prep's water polo team rejoice after defeating the team from Orlando's Dr. Phillips High School 17-13 to win the FHSAA state championship and complete an undefeated season.

MIAMI | On April 23, 2022, Belen Jesuit Prep's water polo team defeated the team from Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando 17-13 to win the FHSAA state championship and complete an undefeated season.

Senior Carlos Veccio (6) takes aim during Belen Jesuit Prep's championship water polo match April 23, 2022 in Miami. The Wolverines defeated Orlando's Dr. Phillips High School 17-13 to win the FHSAA state championship and complete an undefeated season.

Photographer: COURTESY | Victor Arrieta

Senior Carlos Veccio (6) takes aim during Belen Jesuit Prep's championship water polo match April 23, 2022 in Miami. The Wolverines defeated Orlando's Dr. Phillips High School 17-13 to win the FHSAA state championship and complete an undefeated season.

This is the team's fourth title. Previous state championships were in 2009, 2015, and 2016. 

“It’s an honor to have coached this team,” said head coach Jimmy Aguilera. “They trained hard and were very disciplined. I’m very proud of them and grateful to the school administration and the parents of the players for all their support.”

The Wolverines maintained an undefeated record (20-0) and led the school to its third state title this academic year. The cross country team won in the fall and the soccer team won in the winter. This is the first time in school history that a team has won a championship in each season during the same school year.  

The water polo team was led by seniors and twin brothers Carlos and Dylan Veccio, who combined for 13 goals. Junior Bryan Weglarz held the Dr. Phillips Panthers at bay with nine saves. 

Belen goalie Bryan Weglarz reaches for the ball during Belen Jesuit Prep's championship water polo match April 23, 2022 in Miami. The Wolverines defeated Orlando's Dr. Phillips High School 17-13 to win the FHSAA state championship and complete an undefeated season.

Photographer: COURTESY | Victor Arrieta

Belen goalie Bryan Weglarz reaches for the ball during Belen Jesuit Prep's championship water polo match April 23, 2022 in Miami. The Wolverines defeated Orlando's Dr. Phillips High School 17-13 to win the FHSAA state championship and complete an undefeated season.

After the championship game, Aguilera and the other coaches jumped in the pool to celebrate with the team, followed by members of the class of 2022.  

“It feels great to be the top team in the state. We worked all year long for this,” said Carlos Veccio ‘22. “It’s very satisfying to win. We were focused to win this and it was a total team effort. To top it off, we were able to accomplish an undefeated season and that’s something we really wanted.” 

On April 28, the team was acknowledged in front of the entire student body during a morning assembly in the Gian Zumpano Aquatic Center.  

“Celebrating the water polo team’s accomplishments this season is not simply to applaud the student-athletes who were able to beat every single team that they confronted this season,” said Belen's president, Jesuit Father Willie Garcia-Tuñon, ‘87, during the assembly. “It’s also about being able to recognize how we rise to the challenge and meet the standards that have been set for us by the school community that is invested in Belen. It’s impressive when you look at what they were able to accomplish but never think it is far beyond the reach of any other sport, club, group, or class because what we have done at Belen is set great expectations. We congratulate these young men for having met those expectations this season.” 

The water polo state championship series was held at the Gian Zumpano Aquatic Center for the second consecutive year. The aquatic center opened in 2018 and is also home to Belen’s swim team.

Senior Dylan Veccio (5) blocks a shot during Belen Jesuit Prep's championship water polo match April 23, 2022 in Miami. The Wolverines defeated Orlando's Dr. Phillips High School 17-13 to win the FHSAA state championship and complete an undefeated season.

Photographer: COURTESY | Victor Arrieta

Senior Dylan Veccio (5) blocks a shot during Belen Jesuit Prep's championship water polo match April 23, 2022 in Miami. The Wolverines defeated Orlando's Dr. Phillips High School 17-13 to win the FHSAA state championship and complete an undefeated season.