Jamie Frank is the head coach of the Sacred Heart Prep girls water polo squad. That makes Frank eminently qualified to also coach the Stanford Water Polo Club boys 18A team.
On his Stanford club team, currently competing at the National Junior Olympics in Orange County, Frank has nine current or former Sacred Heart Prep boys. While his No. 1 priority at SHP is overseeing the success of his girls team, Frank knows the talent the boys have, as well.
"I've been around them a long time," Frank said of his contingent of SHP boys. "There's a lot of talent. It's just a matter of knowing where to plug in the pieces."
Frank also knows about national championships, having coached the Stanford boys 16A to the title in 2017.
The Stanford 18A boys are the defending division champs of the nation's largest age-group water polo tournament. It was last held in 2019, before it was cancelled last summer due to the pandemic.
Stanford is 3-1 after the opening two days and will have to be at its very best the remaining two days in order to successfully defend when the title match rolls around Tuesday afternoon at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine.
Stanford remained perfect through the first three rounds after upending LA Premier, 12-10, on Sunday morning at the Woollett center.
The game was a rematch of the 2019 finals, when Stanford was coached by Brandon Johnson. He's now the director of the Stanford Water Polo Club program, taking over from Jon Barnea.
Frank, meanwhile, needs to win his remaining five matches in order to match Johnson's feat from two years ago. Stanford will have to win three straight matches on Monday just to reach Tuesday morning's semifinals.
A 12-10 third-round win over LA Premier appeared to keep Stanford in line to remain undefeated.
"Any time you can beat a top-level team — and I consider LA Premier a top-level team — that's a good thing," Frank said.
Eight of Stanford's 12 goals against LA Premier came from the SHP contingent. William Swart, Gavin West and Jack Vort all scored twice with Donald Weigle and Luke Johnston each scoring once. Goalie Griffen Price, who'll be returning to SHP in the fall for his senior year, was solid in the cage throughout the close match.
Stanford built a 5-1 lead after one quarter before LA Premier began pressing and took advantage of some man-up advantages and 5-meter penalty shots to tie the score at 7 with 2:02 left in the third period. Vort scored for an 8-7 lead and Menlo School's Greg Hilderbrand scored following a timeout to set up the play and Stanford held a 9-7 advantage.
A goal by Swart and a 5-meter penalty shot by West pretty much ended LA Premier's hopes.
Stanford's unbeaten streak, however, ended a few hours later in the same pool in a 16-6 swamping by Vanguard Black A.
It was a tough Sunday all around for the Stanford Water Polo Club as its three other top teams lost in 16s, 14s and 12s.
The 16As meet Vanguard Red B on Monday in the quarterfinals of the 13-20 category. The 16B team has three games over the next two days in a round robin format to decide places 21 through 24.
Stanford 14A beat Newport Beach B 8-5 in a play-in game on Sunday night and will have a shot at finishing as high as fifth. The 14As meet Pride A at the Woollett Center on Monday morning.
Stanford 12A beat San Diego Shores 14-7 in a play-in game that guarantees a spot among the top half of the bracket. Stanford meets Lamorinda A with a chance to finish as high as fifth.
The 12B team has a pair of games scheduled Sunday, against La Jolla and Newport Beach B.
After sweeping a pair of matches Sunday, the Stanford 18B team remains in contention for a national title and will meet the San Francisco Warriors, made up of players from St. Ignatius and the North Bay schools, Monday morning at Laguna Hills High.
Stanford beat Praetorian B 9-3 and Big Valley 12-7 to improve its record at the JOs to 4-1.
Stanford 14B dropped two games Sunday 10-3 to ORWP and 11-7 to Trojan B.
Stanford meets Rancho Tsunami Monday morning at Ocean View High for a chance to place fifth.