Sports

Stanford Water Polo Club teams qualify for the Junior Olympics

The boys from the Stanford Water Polo Club were busy this past weekend at both ends of the state while playing in various tournaments.

The 16A team went down to Orange County to compete in the Ironman Superfinals, finishing fourth. The tournament was a culmination of season-long league play between the top club teams in Northern and Southern California.

Stanford's Benoit Viollier (St. Francis) was named goalie of the tournament.

At the Pacific Zone qualifying tournament for next month's Junior Olympics, Stanford's 18-under 'A' team beat Lamorinda in dominant fashion in the championship game, 10-2. Sacred Heart Prep seniors Nelson Perla-Ward and Will Conner each scored three goals. Incoming Stanford freshman and SHP grad Harrison Enright added two while Menlo School senior Nick Bisconti added one.

"With the win we have secured the No. 3 overall seed at this summer's Junior Olympics," said Jon Barnea, who oversees the Stanford program.

Immediately following the game, Bisconti flew to Southern California where he will be training and competing with the U.S. Junior National Team.

Just as impressive, the Stanford 18-under 'B' team finished third at the qualifier after beating West Valley in the third-place game 8-7. The win puts both Stanford teams among the top three from the zone out of 18 teams that competed.

The 14-under teams also had a great weekend at the qualifying tournament. Out of 28 teams in competition, Stanford had three teams finish in the top six as the 'A' team took third, the 'B' was fifth and the 'C' was sixth.

"We were the only club with at least two teams in the top eight," said Barnea, "and this was the highest placing finish for any 'C' team in our club's history."

This coming weekend will be the final weekend of JO Qualifying competition with Stanford's 16B, 16C, 12 A, 12B and 10-under squads all competing for spots in the Junior Olympics, which will be hosted by Stanford.

Girls

The Stanford Water Polo Club qualified its 18A and 18B teams during the weekend in the East Bay with the 'A' squad taking second the the 'B' team fourth.

The 'A' team, coached by Kyle Utsumi, opened with a 19-4 win over NCA and followed that up with a 13-6 victory over Lamorinda on Saturday. Stanford reached the finals on Sunday with a 9-8 shootout win over Diablo before falling to 680 in the title match, 9-7.

The 'B' team, coached by Mark Hernandez, opened with a 12-2 win over Marin and a 12-4 triumph over West Valley on Saturday. In the semifinals Sunday, Stanford was routed by 680, 17-1. In the third-place game, Stanford dropped a 12-3 decision to Diablo.

"18A is looking forward to building on last year's 10th-place finish," Utsumi said of the 2013 JO tourney. "We are looking forward to seeing where we stack up at the US Club Championships July 11-13.

"We are pleased to place our 18B in the championship bracket of JO's. After last year's bronze medal in the Gold Division, the team will be shooting for the Platinum Division this year."

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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