With the exception of its 14-under team, the Stanford Water Polo Club will have to battle from behind in the boys' competition of the National Junior Olympics, which got under way Saturday in Orange County.
The 14-under squad was Stanford's only undefeated team in the Championship bracket after two days following four straight victories.
Stanford 14U opened with a 17-5 win over YCF and topped Rose Bowl Red A, 16-7, to wrap up Saturday's action at the William Wollett Aquatic Center in Irvine. On Sunday, Stanford outscored Commerce Aquatics, 15-6, and edged Northwood Navy A, 6-4, at Ocean High.
The 14U team includes Kyle Ballack, Gabriel Discipulo, Jake Graessle, Jason Hiremath, Domick Kirk, James Kujawa, Jayden Kunwar, Alika Naone, Maxwell Patterson, Benjamin Rapperport, Will Riley, Noah Smith, Sam Untrecht, Eric Warmoth and Larsen Weigle. The team is coached by Clarke Weatherspoon.
Weatherspoon coached the 14U team to a bronze medal last summer, the only medal earned by the Stanford WPC.
The highly touted Stanford 18U A team, which won its Pacific Zone qualifying tournament, was off to a 3-1 start after the opening two days. On Saturday at Foothill High, Stanford routed Pierce County WP, 14-1, and topped Big Valley, 11-9. On Sunday at UC Irvine, Stanford suffered an 11-8 loss to LA Premier before bouncing back to edge CHAWP White, 8-7.
The Stanford 18U B team was 1-3 after two days. On Saturday, Stanford lost to SHAQ A in a shootout, and topped Hearns, 14-4. On Sunday, Stanford B fell to Del mar WP, 10-6, and dropped an 11-9 decision to Commerce Aquatics.
In the 16s, Stanford A is 5-1 and Stanford B is 2-3.
At Segerstrom High, Stanford A opened with an 18-2 romp over Kearns, but then suffered a 6-5 loss to Shores Aquatics Red A. Stanford bounced back to topple Wolverine, 14-2. On Sunday at Newport Harbor High, Stanford A edged Davis WP A, 11-10, defeated Orange County WPC, 10-2, and won a shootout over Vanguard Blue A.
Stanford B fell to SET, 11-3, won a shootout over Greenwich Aquatics and lost to Davis WP A, 11-6, on Saturday at Newport Harbor. On Sunday at the William Woollett AC, Stanford downed Wolverine, 11-4, but lost to Clovic WPC A, 8-4.
The Stanford 14U B team was 3-2 after two days. The squad opened with a 16-6 loss to SET, bounced back to rout Viper Pigeon, 16-2, but lost to La Jolla, 11-5, at the William Woollett AC. On Sunday at UC Irvine, Stanford B topped Sacramento Polo, 12-2, and won a shootout with CA Republic SC.
In the 12U Championship Division, both Stanford teams were 3-2 on the weekend.
On Saturday in Irvine, Stanford A downed Davis WP, 15-4, but fell to Vanguard Blue, 15-3, before romping past International, 16-7. At Woodbridge High, Stanford B fell to Shore Aquatics Red, 18-2, and to Pacific Blue, 6-1.
On Sunday, Stanford A lost to Lamorinda Blue, 9-7, but came back to beat Santa Barbara Premier A, 8-4, at El Toro High. Stanford B defeated United Blue B, 7-4; topped Cal WP, 15-3; and held off Northwest Orcas WP, 8-4.