Nov. 18, 2014
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan water polo head coach Dr. Marcelo Leonardi announced Tuesday (Nov. 18) that four student-athletes -- Delaney Cleveland (Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison HS), Kim Johnson (Walnut Creek, Calif./Las Lomas HS), Sami Pratt (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona del Mar HS) and Julia Sellers (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill HS) -- have signed National Letters of Intent during the early signing period to attend U-M and compete in water polo next fall.
"The first class is obviously special, because it's the first here at Michigan," said Leonardi. "Each individual brings in a specific skill set that we're looking for. They all bring size, speed, athleticism and a solid polo IQ. They all have the ability to come in and contribute early in their career. Looking at systems of play and previous coaching, all four of them come from good high school programs and club systems that place a premium on fundamentals and playing the game a certain way. What I like most about them is that they want to be challenged academically and athletically. They all fit what Michigan is looking for as well as what I'm looking for in building a successful water polo program."
Cleveland, an attacker, accumulated 73 goals, 41 assists and 42 steals last season as a junior (2014), securing All-CIF second team, All-Sunset League first team and KAI-Sports All-America honorable mention honors. Out of the pool, Cleveland earned USA Water Polo Academic All-America accolades in 2014.
"Delaney is a left-handed, 5-10 attacker," said Leonardi. "She is extremely athletic, very fast, and she can shoot. She is also versatile as left-hander in that she has good vision and can play defense. I am excited to see the chemistry she will have with Caroline Anderson on the 45 side (right side) of the pool next year. Having one quality lefty is great, but having two is rare and extremely fortunate."
Johnson, a defender, is already three-time KAI-Sports All-American, earning third team honors last season as a junior, and similarly garnered NISCA All-America fifth team accolades in 2013. She is a three-time CID North Coast Section and All-Diablo Foothill Athletic League selection. Johnson owns four Las Lomas HS career records with 325 goals, 129 assists, 230 steals and 247 drawn ejections. She boasted a single-season record 104 goals this fall. She is a Junior Olympic and ODP participant and a three-time USA Water Polo Academic All-American.
"Kim is a strong 5-10 center defender that can shoot from the outside," said Leonardi. "She has tremendous leg strength, swims well, and competes. She will bring physicality and a solid polo IQ to the position next year. She also has experience in our system of play through ODP. She plays for one of the premier clubs in Northern California in 680. I am excited to see Kimberly develop as a center defender here at Michigan."
Pratt, an attacker, garnered All-Pacific Coast League honors as a junior last season (2014) and claimed an 18U Pan-Pacific championship while competing with CdM Aquatics in New Zealand over the summer. An accomplished swimmer, she captured a CIF SS Division I relay title and contributed to Corona del Mar's fifth-place team finish at the 2014 swimming finals.
"Sami is a 5-10 attacker," said Leonardi. "She is athletic, has speed and can shoot. Her skill set matches our system of play. She is truly a diamond in the rough. I think she can develop into a strong water polo player at the next level. She currently competing at a highest level at Corona Del Mar HS under the tutelage of Ross Sinclair."
Sellers, an attacker, was named to the All-CIF Division I second team and the All-Century League team last season as a junior (2014). Over her tenure, Foothill HS has captured three Century League titles and twice advanced to the CIF SS semifinals. Sellers is a two-time Junior Olympic participant, earning All-America first team honors in 2013. She has also earned three varsity letters in swimming and a four-year member of the California Scholarship Federation.
"Julia is a highly skilled attacker," said Leonardi, " she's a natural scorer. She's very explosive and has great ball-handling skills. We were looking for a finisher- someone who can put pressure on defenses and attack zones. I feel like she can come in and be that player for us. She's fundamentally sound and gained her experience playing for a prominent club in SoCal and high school in Foothill."
The Wolverines will graduate a two-member senior class following the 2015 season.
Communications Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423