Kevin Kuchta doesn’t have a position on the Homewood-Flossmoor water polo team.
Because when you’re as good as the Vikings senior, it’s hard to pick just one.
“He’s our utility man; we can use him anywhere in the pool,” Homewood-Flossmoor coach Tim Caldwell said. “It’s a real advantage for us because Kevin can drive, shoot outside, play the two-meter offense … he’s just a multitalented, multifaceted player.”
With just 10 players making up the Viking squad this season, Kuchta’s ability to man all positions has at times solved depth issues. The 17-year-old standout has even been known to play goalkeeper when he’s found himself in foul trouble.
“[Playing all positions] is something I take pride in,” Kuchta said. “I understand that we’ve had a younger, smaller team over my last two seasons, so I do my best to lead these guys and do so from everywhere in the pool.”
And while the lack of a specific position might hinder some, Kuchta has managed to produce for the 4-4 Vikings. His 25 goals lead the team, and the 2012 Associated Press second-team all-stater also leads the team in assists, steals and blocks.
But for a kid who has given so much from a statistical standpoint, his biggest contributions can’t be tallied in a stat book.
“Sometimes when you watch Kevin, he’s like a pinball bouncing around in the pool trying to clean up other kids’ messes,” Caldwell said. “And he’s doing that because he’s out there trying to help and teach his teammates on the go.
“He cares about wins and losses just as much, if not more, than the next kid, but he wants his teammates to grow and improve just as badly.”
And when Kuchta gives a lesson, his teammates listen.
“A majority of the players on this team are freshmen and sophomores, so we have a lot of kids who are on the brink of good things,” Kuchta said. “And a lot of times, you can see these kids taking the advice and instruction that I’m giving them and apply it in games and help the team because of it.”
And improving as a team is Kuchta’s ultimate goal this spring, even if it means giving up the individual accolades he has become so accustomed to.
“The personal awards are great, and they’re great for my individual confidence, but they don’t do much for the team as a whole,” Kuchta added. “The team comes first. I could finish the year last on the team in every stat and be fine with it, because if I can help get this team to state, that’s when I’ll feel like I’ve done my real job.”