Village News Reporter
Francisco Paredes, who competed in water polo and swimming before graduating from Fallbrook High School in June, will continue his water polo career at Cal State University Fullerton.
"It's really a great opportunity. I'm really excited to play at the next level and go from there," Paredes said.
"So happy for him that he's playing at the next level," said Bill Richardson, who was Paredes' water polo coach at Fallbrook High School.
Paredes was also considering Mount St. Mary's, Biola University, Whittier College, Long Island University in New York and Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania. "My parents went to Cal State Fullerton, and that's how they met. I was born in Orange County, so I thought that would be cool to kind of come back," Paredes said. "I just love the Orange County area."
He was born in Anaheim Hills. His father, whose first name is also Francisco, attended Vista High School. His mother, Michele, is from La Puente. Paredes is the oldest of three children. His brother, Augustine, will be a junior during the 2023-24 school year and was also on Fallbrook's 2022-23 varsity water polo team. His sister will be a freshman for the 2023-24 academic year.
The family moved from Corona to Fallbrook when Paredes was in fifth grade. He began his Fallbrook school experience at Live Oak Elementary School and then was at Potter Junior High School for two years.
Between seventh and eighth grade, Paredes took an introductory water polo class at Brook Street Pool in Oceanside. He also played Little League Baseball prior to high school.
Paredes was on Fallbrook High School's junior varsity water polo team as a freshman in 2019. He was on the Warriors' junior varsity swim team for the 2020 season and participated in three meets before the coronavirus outbreak ended the season. Paredes was also part of Fallbrook's Associated Student Body government during his freshman year.
As a freshman, Paredes played goalkeeper. "That was really fun," he said.
That also provided Paredes with his favorite Fallbrook High School water polo memory. The Warriors played Valhalla that year. "I made a lot of blocks that game," Paredes said.
Paredes spent his sophomore and junior years at Vista High School. He was on the Panthers' varsity water polo team for both seasons and became a two-meter player. He did not swim during the 2020-21 season and made Vista's varsity swim team as a junior.
The transfer back to Fallbrook High School forced Paredes to sit out part of his senior water polo season, but he joined the game rosters midway during the year. "He was a great addition to the team. It was nice to have him come back," Richardson said.
The sit-out requirement for the transfer student only applied to playing but did not prevent Paredes from attending practices or helping other players. "He was always just positive about being there and helping others," Richardson said.
He would also help the team in the water once he was able to play while still continuing his support of other players. "A fantastic player. Just a good leader," Richardson said. "He's a great guy. Hard working."
During the club season, Paredes was with the Carlsbad Water Polo Club.
"Through Fallbrook I really excelled, and the coaches invested a lot of time with me," Paredes said.
Boys water polo and football are both fall sports, but Paredes was able to attend Fallbrook High School football games. He considers those games to be his favorite overall Fallbrook High School memory.
Paredes plans to major in business at Cal State Fullerton and is contemplating becoming an accountant.
"I'm just really fortunate to be given this opportunity, and I thank everybody who's helped me along the way," Paredes said.