Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions girls’ water polo tournament postponed

This weekend’s prestigious Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions girls’ water polo tournament has been rescheduled for Jan. 25-27, tournament director and Santa Barbara High water polo coach Mark Walsh wrote in an email Wednesday.

A 30-mile stretch of Highway 101 between Ventura and Santa Barbara remains closed south after this week’s storm. Initially, the hope was that the highway would reopen by Thursday night, but CalTrans announced Wednesday that it will remain closed through the weekend due to large amounts of mud, debris and damage.

Laguna Beach is the top-seeded team and defending champion of the tournament, with Corona del Mar as the No. 4 seed. Newport Harbor and Huntington Beach were scheduled to have “play-in” games Thursday night at Dos Pueblos to make the 16-team main draw.

In the email, Walsh said he plans to donate proceeds from the rescheduled Santa Barbara TOC to help the flood victims. At least 15 people have died in mudslides in Montecito, according to a Los Angeles Times article.

“We have [thousands] of people displaced from their homes that need lodging,” Walsh wrote in the email. “[I] think it would be better to use the [hotel] rooms for them than for a water polo tourney this weekend.”

Walsh said in the email that he understands some teams may have games already scheduled for the Jan. 25-27 weekend. If some teams cannot attend, the tournament could become smaller.

Twitter: @mjszabo

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