On the last day of Freshman Formation at Servite High School, toward the end of the final physical test of the three-day orientation, a newcomer was struggling to run the final lap.
A group of his future classmates spotted the weary runner and quickly responded with a massive show of support, encouraging him every step of the way until he crossed the finish line.
Watching with pride was senior Brian McGee, who will serve as the school’s Prior General this school year. The elected position at Servite can best be compared to the student-body president at a public school.
“That was amazing to see,” McGee said a few days later. “Just that bond they had from just two days being together. It got me pumped up.”
McGee is usually the one pumping others up, especially in the water. He’s four-year member of the Servite boys’ water polo team and considers his energy his best asset, although he’s a proven goal scorer and defender as well.
“I go down there and I have enough endurance that I can fight the whole game,” McGee says. “I think that helps other guys to fight through the whole game, too.”
With all the added responsibilities of being the school’s Prior General, as well as other demands that come with being a high school senior, energy seems like it might be harder to find for McGee this season.
He politely refutes that speculation.
“I might be tired before a game, but when it’s game time, it’s game time,” he says. “That’s the thing about Servite. You have that pride in your sport, or that pride in your school, where [energy] comes out of nowhere almost. You feel that strength in your brotherhood.”
The Friars figure to depend on each other quite a bit compared to seasons past, when they were usually led by one ultra-talented player and a group of supporters.
Last season it was goalkeeper Jeff Sherer, a first-team all-Trinity League selection who accepted a partial scholarship to UC Santa Barbara. The three years before, it was Max Weber, a three-time first-team all-league selection who scored 104 goals as a junior and 111 as a senior. He’s now playing for UCLA.
“[Weber] was very good, but our team had a climate change without him [last season],” McGee says. “We had to adjust, from one all star, to us all stepping up.”
The Trinity League shows no mercy when it comes to water polo. Mater Dei won the CIF-SS Division I championship last season and reached the semifinals the year before. Orange Lutheran has also reached the quarterfinals the last two years.
“It challenges us to be better,” McGee says of playing in the Trinity League. “We won’t get to play at this competitive level ever again, really.”
And now it’s McGee’s job to not only step up for the Servite water polo team, but to represent the entire student body.
He had his eye on becoming the Prior General way back in his freshman year. He was one of the school’s 40 Assistant Priors last year, and through an interview process with teachers and administrators, the list of potential Prior Generals was whittled down to 12. Those candidates were then placed on a ballot for students to decide.
McGee finished No. 1.
“I figured that I had good ideas and the best way to help my brothers, to serve my brothers, would be as Prior General,” he says.
He’s already off to a great start.