Last week was a big one for Corona del Mar resident Jack Seybold, in and out of the water.
Seybold, an incoming senior at Mater Dei High, secured his college future by committing to play water polo at Stanford. Then he helped the Monarchs secure the California State High School Water Polo Championships.
Seybold, a utility player, was key as Mater Dei beat Campolinda of Moraga, 11-9, in the boys' title game at Foothill High on Sunday. Seybold scored a match-high four goals.
"Our main goal is CIF during the fall, so I think it was a good opportunity for us to see where we stand among other high school teams," Seybold said. "Right now it's club season, and we're playing as a pure high school team against teams that have people who are incoming freshmen into college."
Cooper Haddad, from Huntington Beach, had the go-ahead strike in the fourth quarter for Mater Dei. Other Huntington Beach residents on the team include incoming senior center Wyatt Benson, Kaden Kaneko and Cameron Reagan.
Newport Beach or CdM residents on the team include seniors Evan Simpson, Alex Davis, Charlie McKenna, Mark Balcarcel and Jack Klinger, as well as junior Warren Loth and freshman Grant Loth. Incoming senior Nicholas Classen is a Costa Mesa resident.
Yes, as usual there is a lot of local talent on Mater Dei. But Seybold is the first one to commit to a college, and he's excited to join the Cardinal. He said he'll possibly study political science or business at Stanford.
"I feel really blessed," said Seybold, who was also considering Harvard, Cal and UCLA. "It's a result of all of the hard work I've put in, and I'm thankful for the opportunities I've had at Mater Dei."
Seybold has been a key player for Mater Dei for a while now, and that will again be true this weekend as the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics come to Orange County. The tournament starts Saturday, and the Regency club team will feature Mater Dei's players.
Regency is the defending champion in the 18-and-under division, but last year the team featured several older players, including Seybold's older brother Bennie, who is now at Harvard.
Jack Seybold said other contenders in the 18U division at Junior Olympics are likely other Orange County club teams like Vanguard and Northwood. The first session of the tournament concludes with boys' division title games on Tuesday.
"Last year, when we won, we had a lot of [graduated] seniors [going to college]," Seybold said. "It should be different. But when I was an incoming freshman, we also won, and we were a pure high school team. That was pretty cool."
LAGUNA GIRLS ALSO WINNERS
The Laguna Beach High girls' water polo team went 31-0 last winter and claimed its third CIF Southern Section Division 1 title in four years.
The Breakers lost Aria Fischer, Bella Baldridge and Claire Sonne to graduation, and standout incoming senior goalie Thea Walsh did not play in the California High School State Championships. But Laguna still ruled the girls' field last weekend.
Laguna Beach beat Mater Dei, 13-12 in overtime, for the title on Saturday at Corona del Mar High.
Backup goalie Quinn Winter blocked three penalty shots and incoming senior Evan Tingler scored three goals. Incoming junior Claire Kelly and incoming sophomore Grace Houlahan both scored twice for Laguna Beach.
ROSTERS NAMED FOR JUNIOR WORLDS IN GREECE
USA Water Polo on Thursday named the rosters for the upcoming FINA Junior World Championships, which will be held in Volos, Greece from Sept. 3-9.
Newport Harbor High alumni Rachel Whitelegge and Carlee Kapana, both of whom currently attend UCLA, will compete for the women's team. So will Corona del Mar High incoming senior Chloe Harbilas. Coralee Simmons is the head coach for the team, which is in Group D along with Croatia, New Zealand and Spain.
The men's team will feature goalie Alex Wolf, a Huntington Beach High graduate who also plays for UCLA. Other locals on the team are also all Oilers, recent graduates Ethan Wojciechowski and Quinten Osborne and incoming senior Jake Cavano.
Gavin Arroyo is the head coach for the men's team, which is joined in Group A by Russia, Greece, Puerto Rico and Iran.