The national club championships begin next weekend, when the ball drops on the boys’ Junior Olympics in Orange County.
As far as high school teams go, though, the tournament of the summer is this weekend — also in Orange County.
The Corona del Mar and Newport Harbor high school girls’ water polo teams, as well as the Newport Harbor boys, will be participating in the California State High School Championships beginning Friday.
CdM’s girls, the runners up last year, are seeded third. They begin play in their four-team pool Friday at CdM. They play San Marcos at noon, followed by Irvine at 4 p.m. Sacred Heart of Atherton is the other team in the pool, and they’ll play CdM on Saturday at 8 a.m.
The Newport Harbor girls are seeded seventh and playing their initial games at Santa Margarita High. They open Friday at 2 p.m. against St. Francis and play against Clovis at 6 p.m. The pool also includes Vista, which the Sailors will play at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The semifinals and finals are set for Sunday at CdM. The championship match is scheduled for 3 p.m. Foothill and Santa Barbara are the top two seeds. Three-time defending Division I champion Dos Pueblos is not entered in the tournament.
Neither CdM nor Newport Harbor is expected to be at full strength. CdM incoming junior Cassidy Papa, as well as Newport incoming senior Maddy McLaren, are in Hungary with the U.S. women’s youth national team.
Newport Harbor’s boys, who finished third in last year’s tournament, are seeded fourth. They play at the Sailors’ pool, opening Friday at noon against Los Altos before playing San Clemente at 4 p.m. The Sailors’ final pool play match is against Clovis West on Saturday at 8 a.m., also at Newport.
Newport Harbor aquatics boosters president Doug Stevens said assistant Pavle Filipovic will be coaching the Newport Harbor boys this weekend and also at the Junior Olympics. The Sailors’ first-year head coach, Robert Lynn, is in China as an assistant coach with the U.S. men’s senior national team, which is currently playing in the FINA World Championships.
Defending Division I champion Mater Dei is the top seed, with El Toro second and Loyola third. The championship match is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, at Newport Harbor.
Corona del Mar is not among the 32 boys’ teams entered in the tournament.