The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Telek: A rising water polo superstar, proud of her Hungarian roots, and driven by a passion for victory

Dorottya Telek plays defense against UC Santa Barbara on March 11, 2022, in Northridge, Calif.

In collegiate water polo, Dorottya Telek, a junior, has been creating ripples everywhere she plays. Her exceptional talent and unwavering determination have distinguished her as a critical player for CSUN’s water polo team. Her journey, marked by record-breaking performances and a school single-season scoring record of 101 goals, shows her mentality as a player every time she competes in the pool.

“We have one of the best players in the country,” head coach Matt Warshaw said, applauding the greatness he sees in Telek. “Anytime we have a player with that talent, you always have a chance to win games.”

Telek was born in Budapest, Hungary, where her journey began as a young water polo player. From an early age, she was immersed in the pool, honing her craft under the watchful eyes of her parents, Dora and Gabor.

“Winning the Hungarian championship was my greatest achievement in my sports career,” Telek said. “I’m very passionate about water polo, and the support I get from my family is incredible. Playing for CSUN has been outstanding, especially building a family with my teammates over the past two years.”

Alongside her water polo career at CSUN, Telek has also shone in the academic field. She was recognized as a Big West All-Academic player and has garnered other impressive accolades before attending CSUN. Telek’s participation in the 2018 junior national team was a significant milestone in the fiercely competitive Hungarian water polo scene. At just 16, she clinched the Hungarian junior and senior championships while studying at Obudai Arpad Gymnasium, a prestigious school in Budapest, Hungary.

The prodigious talents Telek displayed at such a young age as one of the country’s best players did not go unnoticed. As she competed in the national championships at her school in Budapest, Hungary, she decided to move to California and attend CSUN to continue her water polo career.

“I’m just committed to the sport,” said the All-Big West Second Team player. “I try to be the best version of myself and always give it my all.”

Telek was welcomed by new teammates, coaches, and friends. She made a family with the teammates she has now, and played at a higher level than she did in Hungary. Just as Telek was preparing for this journey to play at the next level at CSUN, she was forced to sit out for the entire season when COVID-19 was at its peak.

“It was hard to sit out my first season, but I wanted to play in a safe environment and be ready when the virus settled down,” Telek said.

The 2023 ACWPC All-America Honorable Mention was looking forward to starting her journey in her first season with the CSUN water polo team. Telek joined the team in 2021 when COVID-19 was still at its peak. The COVID-19 pandemic caused many disruptions, especially to athletes competing worldwide, and Telek decided to sit out her first season and return when it was safe.

The following two seasons, she became the first Matador freshman to be named to the All-Big West First team, where she led the Big West in goals with 77 and points with 108, while she ranked second in steals (35) and third in assists (31). Taking the one-year break from playing water polo proved to not set her back because she went on to have an incredible two seasons following the sit-out, scoring 178 goals in the last two seasons while grabbing 79 steals.

“Telek brings a positive energy and winning mentality every time she plays in the pool,” Warshaw said. “She wants to win and doesn’t care what she needs to do to achieve that.”

Through her journey of playing water polo at the highest level, Telek faced challenges with the blooming of COVID-19, but she remained focused and determined to get back to the sport she loves. Every time she steps into the pool, her skill and focus demonstrate her love for the game and her desire to keep playing at the highest level possible.

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