Boys' Water Polo: Local players commit

Luca Cupido, the senior transfer from Italy, has become a pretty familiar sight inside the pool at Newport Harbor High this fall.

Cupido's familiarity with another program up the coast aided his college decision.

Cupido has verbally committed to play water polo at UC Berkeley, he said in a text message Sunday.

He was one of three boys' water polo players to commit recently. Cupido's senior teammate Mitchell Mendoza has committed to play at Stanford, Mendoza said Monday.

CdM senior Ryan Greenwald has committed to play at Johns Hopkins, Coach Barry O'Dea confirmed Tuesday.

Cupido is the leading scorer for the Sailors (17-4, 2-0 in league), who are ranked No. 3 in CIF Southern Section Division 1. He has electrified fans since joining the team, helping the Sailors win the Battle of the Bay and take third place at the S&R; Sport tournament.

He will follow his older brother, Giacomo, at Cal. Giacomo Cupido is currently a senior water polo player for the Golden Bears.

"Family tradition, great academic and water polo program," Luca texted as reasons for picking Cal. "[I'm] familiar with the Bay Area [and] happy for my decision."

Mendoza, a left-hander, also has been a senior leader for the Sailors. He's the team's only returning starter and said staying in California also was a plus for him.

"I think it was the best fit for me considering I really am serious about academics, however I still wanted to compete at a high level in the sport," Mendoza wrote in a text message. "I also loved how I will be in the sun for another four years."

Mendoza said he also really likes the coach, John Vargas, who was formerly the longtime boys' water polo coach at CdM until leaving for Stanford in 2001.

Greenwald also is a senior leader for the Sea Kings (10-8, 5-1 in league), who are ranked No. 9 in Division 1.

For mens' water polo players, a national letter of intent can be signed beginning Feb. 5, 2014.

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