Reagan McEachen embraces hard work. 

Reagan McEachen of the San Marcos girls water polo team was honored as the school’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She carries a 4.92 GPA and is headed to Stanford.

Whether it’s mixing it up in the chaotic center position in water polo or pushing herself with challenging courses at San Marcos High, McEachen excels and gets the job done.

The Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table on Monday honored McEachen as the Scholar-Athlete of the Year for San Marcos during its weekly press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe.

McEachen plays center-forward for the Royals, who are one or the top girls water polo teams in the CIF-Southern Section. It is a grueling position that requires incredible fitness, toughness, agility, strength, guile and awareness.

“Reagan’s a pretty special student athlete,” said coach Chuckie Roth. “She also could be one of our athletes of the year at our school, she’s that great of an athlete.”

Roth calls her “an unsung hero” because while she doesn’t receive all the attention for scoring a bunch of goals, her play is vital for others to put the ball in the net.

“People who really know the game value what she does,” he said. “She’s the one drawing penalties, and then somebody else shoots and gets those goals. But she does that for our team. She’s a true definition of a team player. She really doesn’t care about stats or how many goals she has. It’s whether the team is being successful or not.”

McEachen has experienced great success in the pool and that success carries over to the classroom. 

She carries a 4.92 GPA, taking a class load that includes Advanced Placement biology, literature, government, economics and statistics. She is a member of the school’s Accelerated Academic Program for Leadership and Enrichment (AAPLE) and is co-chair of the Cybertutorial Program, where she is responsible for educational content, mentorship and tutoring for primary school students.

McEachen last month signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her water polo and education careers at Stanford. She plans to pursue a degree in the university’s Science, Technology and Society Program.

McEachen’s interest in water polo started at 8 years old, when she attended a camp, where Roth was her coach.

“That experience locked in an early decision to attend San Marcos, so I could play for him,” she said. “You will never find a more enthusiastic, dedicated and supportive coach. He inspires your best in and outside the pool.

“The San Marcos girls water polo program has a tradition of disciplined student athletes who strive to excel in their sport and in the classroom. I’m proud to be a part of that history and hope to foster that commitment in rising teammates and future players.”

McEachen water polo journey includes being a six-time USA Water Polo All-American, an All-CIF-Southern Section Open Division second-team honoree, Channel League first-team selection and a USA Water Polo Junior Olympics gold medalist with the 805 Santa Barbara Water Polo Club.

Twice she’s led San Marcos with the most drawn ejections for a season.

McEachen was chosen to play for the USA Water Polo Youth National Team and has scrimmaged against the senior national team of New Zealand and the Australian Junior National Team. Last March, she got the opportunity to train and compete with the national teams from the Netherlands.

She recognized her 805 Santa Barbara Water Polo Club coaches Cathy Neushul and Connor Levoff and San Marcos Athletic Director Abe Jahadhmy for their guidance and leadership on her journey.

“These exceptional mentors have defined my work ethic and fueled my drive for athletic and academic success,” she said. “This scholar-athlete achievement  was cultivated by coaches who encourage ambitious goals and guide the path to attain them.”

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

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