Some of the top high school water polo teams in the nation gather at Sacred Heart Prep and Gunn High pools this weekend for the North vs. South Challenge.
"You could safely say there will be 15 to 20 Division I athletes in the water," SHP coach Brian Kreutzkamp said. "There will be a good number of college coaches in attendance."
Menlo School and Gunn join SHP in what is one of the strongest fields in the nation.
In addition to college coaches, top referees from around the country, and one from Canada, request to judge the tournament.
Throw in the accompanying accoutrements, which includes parent volunteers, a P.A. announcer with a deep knowledge of water polo, and live streams, and the tournament "is as close to a collegiate Division I game as you'll find in a high school environment," Kreutzkamp said.
Menlo kicks off the tournament with a 9 a.m. match against JSerra at Sacred Heart Prep. Greg Hilderbrand can be counted among those Division I prospects and coach Jack Bowen is considered one of the nation's top authorities in goalkeeping.
Gunn opens with top-seeded Mater Dei in its own pool at 1 p.m. Mater Dei is the only team that has beaten SHP, seeded second, this season. The Titans are undefeated in the SCVAL De Anza Division and coach Jamie Olsen has several experienced athletes including Jordann Affeld and Cole Vale.
De La Salle, considered the top team in the East Bay this year, meets Oak Christian, who co-hosted last weekend's S&R Elite 12 tournament, at 2:10 p.m., also at Gunn. All four teams will play a second match later Friday.
Laguna Beach and Miramonte follow Menlo's game with JSerra at SHP and will be followed by four more first-round games, including Sacred Heart Prep's meeting with Santa Margarita at 1:40 p.m.
Stanford-bound goalie Griffin Price has been described by a few coaches as the best goalie in the country. He has been dreaming of attending Stanford since he can remember.
Gavin West will play amateur water polo in Europe next season as colleges are currently jammed with fifth- and sixth year seniors.
No. 3 seed Harvard-Westlake meets Monte Vista Danville at 11:20 a.m., followed by Cathedral Catholic-Campolindo. Loyola Los Angeles and San Ramon Valley complete the first round at 2:50 p.m.
"The top teams, on any given day, are beating each other," Kreutzkamp said. "It's great fun for everybody."