The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Misha Golovatyi makes a splash with Occidental water polo commitment

Courtesy Ted Kokernak

Ever since fifth grade, senior Misha Golovatyi has been drawn to the exercise, competition and friendships he formed playing water polo. Eight years later, in November 2023, Misha committed to Occidental College to continue his water polo career at the Division III level.

Moving to Los Altos from Ukraine in 2014, Misha kicked off his water polo career with NorCal Aquatics and stuck with it — the sport and the team — throughout middle and high school.

Misha did not play for the school during his freshman year due to COVID-19, but in his sophomore year, Misha made his Los Altos High School varsity team debut and went on to earn Most Improved Player during his junior year.

Last fall, the LAHS water polo team finished fourth in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League and qualified for the CCS Division I semifinals, aided by Misha’s skill and hard work.

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“He’s definitely matured a lot over these last couple years,” Head Coach Seth Tasman said. “This past season, he was one of our top scorers. He had a couple of game-winners that were split second and proved that he was a good team leader in and out of the water. He had one of the best shots in our league this entire year and probably all of CCS.”

Misha looks forward to contributing his strengths to Occidental. Located in Los Angeles, California, the liberal arts college has strong computer science and business programs, giving Misha both the academic programs and tight-knit community he wanted.

“Occidental had such a homey vibe when I visited,” Misha said. “The coaching staff was really amazing. It’s a highly competitive school for water polo and even though we’re DIII, we play the University of California, Los Angeles and San Diego, some of the top DI teams in the country. There’s a good level of competition.”

Tasman, who also coaches Misha at NorCal, has witnessed his personal growth throughout his years of playing water polo and understands the value of this commitment.

“It’s an awesome accomplishment that he’s going to play in college next year,” Tasman said. “Hopefully he leads the way for some of our underclassmen, who are definitely interested in playing as well.”

With his experience and leadership as a veteran and club player, Misha helped the LAHS team earn a 12–16 overall record in 2023, the highest in his career. Aside from being a strong player, Misha’s teammates endorse his can-do attitude.

“When he’s committed to something he always works his hardest,” varsity water polo player senior Zachary Brunner said. “He’s really just a blast to be around.”

After eight years of dedication to the sport and his teammates, Misha will bring his skill and — most importantly — his constant positivity to college.

“My favorite part about Misha is his ability to make anything fun,” Zachary said. “No matter what he’s doing, he always turns it into a game. He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had.”

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Oscar Johnson
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