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January 28, 2005

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Friday, January 28, 2005

Menlo coach wins national polo honor Menlo coach wins national polo honor (January 28, 2005)

by Keith Peters

The 2004 water polo season was one for Menlo School coach Kyle Utsumi to remember, and 2005 is starting out just as well.

Utsumi coached various national teams to gold medals at the Pan American games and the Speedo Top 40 Festival and guided Menlo to the Central Coast Section championship. For his efforts, Utsumi was named National Coach of the Year by USA Water Polo.

During the summer, Utsumi coached the USA Junior Women's team to a gold medal at the Pan American Games. His team then earned another gold medal at the Speedo Top 40 Festival.

Utsumi currently is with his junior team in Perth, Australia for the FINA Junior Women's World Championships.

The Americans won their first three matches, including an 11-5 victory over Russia on Wednesday, to clinch first place in their bracket.

The U.S. plays today against either New Zealand or Puerto Rico.

"It was really important to play our best polo throughout the week, not just for the finals," Utsumi said. "Using all of our players is such a benefit. When the subs got in, they worked hard."

Stanford sophomore Alison Gregorka led a foursome of players who scored twice against the Russians.

The Americans won their opener on Monday, 9-8 over Hungary, then routed China on Tuesday, 19-1, as Stanford sophomore Katie Hansen scored five goals and Gregorka added two goals. Hansen also added a goal against Hungary.

Other Stanford sophomores playing for the USA include Christina Hewko and goalie Meridith McColl.

Canada won this tournament in 2003 with the USA grabbing the silver medal.


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