Making a big splash
Success measured in many ways for Stanford
For Jon Barnea, the results of the Stanford Water Polo Club teams takes a back seat to the future of their players. He's happier looking at rosters of colleges across the nation that has one or more of his former players.
The Stanford Red 18U team finished eighth at the Junior Olympics in the Los Angeles area while the Stanford Red 16U team, coached by Jasper Billings, finished as the national runner-up.
Meanwhile, the Stanford White 12U team placed fifth and the Stanford Red 18U team finished eighth.
Stanford had at least one team in each division, and was generally represented by two teams.
Stanford's 16U team lost to SET (Saddleback-El Toro) Water Polo Club A, 12-3, in the title game at the Contreras Learning Center in Los Angeles. The first six games of the tournament were something to behold. The Red 16U outscored its opponents by an 80-38 margin in winning those first six games leading to the championship.
The roster includes Connor Dillon, Maxwell Draga, Casey Fleming, David Freudenstein, Patrick Goodenough, M-A junior Alex Gow, Nick Hale, Gunn senior Benjamin Hendricks, Matthieu Leyrat, Cory McGee, Benjamin Pickard, Cullen Raisch, Max Schell, Caleb Terzich, and Adam Warmoth.
"It was an incredible experience," Billings said. "One of the most important keys was the way those guys kept their focus through the week. I was impressed by their level of mental toughness."
Schell was the team's MVP through their run, while Fleming and Goodenough were just as important. Billings figures there are at least a half-dozen players on his team worthy of All-American status.
"I knew we could be a Top Four team," he said. "But it didn't surprise me that it ended up the way it did. For some of these guys it's one of the highest levels of athletic achievement. For others this experience may open doors for them to continue their careers at a higher level."
The Stanford Red 18U, which finished third last year, won its first five games this time around before stumbling at the end.
Barnea's roster includes Thomas Agramonte, Alex Bailey, SH Prep senior Philip Bamberg, Christian Broom, SH Prep grad David Culpan, Sacred Heart Prep grad Benjamin Dearborn, SH Prep senior Robert Dunlevie, Mark Garner, Menlo School senior John Holland-McCowan, Brian Morton, Colin Mulcahy, Peter Olson, Peter Simon, M-A grad Jed Springer, and SH Prep grad Connor Still.
"It was a successful tournament for us," Barnea said. "We're fortunate to have had so much success in the past that maybe expectations are high. This was a good showing."
Barnea is happier that Still and Dearborn will be playing at Princeton next year. Springer and Culpan are headed to UCLA and Olson will play at Loyola Marymount.
"It's bittersweet to say goodbye but at the same time it will be very nice to watch them go through college," Barnea said. "Many of them will stay involved with the club and come back to help us."
Stanford was unbeaten heading into the quarterfinals, and then fell, 8-5 in a shootout, to the Los Angeles water polo club.
Several other members of the Stanford White 18U team, which placed 20th, are also headed for collegiate water polo programs, including Eric Wright to Stanford, Bobby Abbott to UC Santa Barbara, Alex Berenfeld and Michael Clifford to UC Davis, Alexander Doundakov to UC San Diego and Trey Schaaf to Arizona.
The Stanford White 12U finished fifth in its division by outscoring Lamorinda Blue, 17-16, in the final contest. The solid group includes Jack Barman, Andrew Cho, Jackson Enright, Dakota Freudenstein, Jack Hocker, Peter Kerr, Kyle Leung, Andrew Penner, Nathan Puentes, Alan Viollier, Quinn Vitakis, Eric Warmoth, and Jackson Westerman.
The Stanford Red 14U team lost to Foothill, 9-8, on Tuesday and finished 14th in its division, while Stanford Red 12U edged United Blue, 7-6, in the 17th place game. The Stanford White 14U team also placed 20th.