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Sacred Heart Prep seniors Will Runkel and Zach Churukian have taken steps to continue their water polo careers in college after both committed to universities this week.
Runkel, a goalie, has been accepted into the Class of 2017 at UCLA while Churukian is headed to MIT in the fall.
The two helped the top-seeded Gators finish 25-4 and win a second straight Central Coast Section Division II title this season -- the program's fifth in six years.
Runkel will join a UCLA team that finished second at the NCAA tournament this past season. He was an All-CCS Division III choice three straight years and was voted the top goalie in the CCS this past season for all divisions. He was also a member of the All-West Catholic Athletic League teams in 2010, '11 and '12.
"Will is one of the top goalies in the nation and I expect him to have a big impact in his Division I water polo career," said SHP head coach Brian Kreutzkamp. "Will comes from a long pedigree of great SHP goalies that have had meaningful collegiate careers, and I expect him to do well and to continue to carry that torch for our program."
"Attending UCLA and playing water polo for Coach Adam Wright has been my goal the last four years while playing at Sacred Heart Prep," Runkel said. "I am honored to become a member of one of the best collegiate water polo programs in the country and I look forward to competing for an NCAA championship."
Churukian, meanwhile, will play for the MIT Engineers after earning All-CCS Division II honors this past fall after being an honorable mention in 2011. He also earned All-WCAL honors in 2011 (second team) and 2012 (first team).
"Zach was our team captain and led our team to two consecutive WCAL and CCS championships," Kreutzkamp said. "He is an outstanding water polo player and a great leader. I expecte him to have a great career at MIT."
"I am extremely honored to be admitted to the Class of 2017 at MIT," Churukian said. "It has always been my goal to attend an Ivy League institution. MIT is one of the most rigorous schools in the nation and I am looking forward to the challenges, both academically and athletically."