Former Coyote MVP signs with Concordia
Madera Tribune File Photo
Former Madera Coyote most Valuable Player Austin Wade rises up for a shot attempt during the 2016 season. He signed a National Letter of Intent in April to play at Concordia College in Irvine.
Former County/Metro Athletic Conference boys water polo Most Valuable Player Austin Wade is keeping his water polo career active by signing a National Letter of Intent to play at Concordia College in Irvine this fall.
Wade, a 2017 Madera graduate and was the 2016 CMAC MVP, spent the past two seasons gathering accolades at Sierra College in Rocklin with both the swimming and water polo teams before signing with Concordia in April.
“After my last season, I wanted to continue to play,” he said. “It has been a big part of my life. Being able to play would still keep me involved in stuff. I reached out to some coaches and coaches reached out to me.”
After Wade left Madera, he had the opportunity to play in Australia for a club team.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I would do it again if I could. My dad played in college and he has a friend that still plays in Australia. He hooked me up with a team. I lived there for five months and played their season to get experience. That experience has really helped me.”
Wade then attended Sierra College where he helped the school win a state swimming championship and a NorCal Water Polo championship. Sierra College also placed third in NorCal his freshman year.
“It was the first championship for the school,” he said. “It was great to be a part of that experience. This last year, I was an All-American, All-NorCal and All-Conference. It was a big progression from the year before to the last year.”
In addition to Concordia, Wade received calls from La Verne University, Fresno Pacific and schools from the East Coast.
“Concordia had the highest level of interest,” he said. “I have some old teammates when I played club in high school that’s playing there now. I get to play with them. Concordia was the best option for me. We are going to be living in the dorms together.”
From graduating from Madera to playing in Australia, to playing in Northern California and now heading to the southern part of the state, Wade has had a pretty lengthy journey.
“Nobody really knows about Madera,” he said. “Not even my JC teammates knew. They knew where Fresno and Clovis was, but not Madera. Madera isn’t known for its water polo team. So, going to Australia and playing against Olympians, then going to a successful JC to win a State Championship and now signing a scholarship is a crazy journey. It feels good. From Madera, it’s a unique story.”
Wade is proud to be one of the table setters for male aquatics at Madera.
“I think in Madera history, I know we have really older swimmers, but there have only been a few to play at a four-year school,” he said.
Wade will double major in economics and business. He plans to go into accounting or sports management while playing just water polo.
While at home in Madera, Wade is trying to get into the best shape he can while also taking some summer school classes online.
“I work out four times a week lifting weights,” he said. “I’m trying to get in the pool to stay in shape. The more in shape going into the season, I’ll be further ahead of the people who aren’t in shape. I’m trying to keep my grades up. The better the grades, the better the scholarship I get. It sucks that I signed to a private school.”
Although Wade started his career in Northern California, he has always liked Southern California and is happy to continue playing there.
“My sister went to UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara),” he said. “The reason she went there was because I had interest in it. I have lived in Central California, then went to Northern California and now I’m going to Southern California. I find it interesting. I just took the best option. I loved Sierra College. People don’t realize how good junior college is if you go to a good one. I just always tried to pick the best option for me that that was what Concordia and Sierra were.”
Wade is proud of the path he chose and feels that anyone could do it this way, as well.
“I feel like a lot of people frown upon the junior college path,” he said. “As long as you go to a good one and motivate, it’s going to be better off in the long run. I applied to schools out of high school and didn’t get in. Now, I applied for some school and I got into some I never thought I would have gotten into. It’s definitely been a different path than most people.”
Although he had a chance to play at Fresno Pacific, Wade is happy with his decision, although he will always have a love for the Central Valley.
“My parents have wanted me to do what made me happiest,” he said. “I wanted to be with a team that I was comfortable with and school I wanted to go to. I absolutely love Fresno and Madera. I want to live here in the future. A lot of people want to get away for a little bit.”
Now that Wade is signed to Concordia, the only thing that worries him is if he will have a season to play. Since men’s water polo is a fall sport, the COVID-19 pandemic will have an effect on the season.
”I just hope I get to play next season,” he said. “I don’t want to give up a year of not playing. The pandemic didn’t affect my decision much because I was already talking to coaches during the winter. The only thing this pandemic has done is make me worry about the season getting canceled.”