Newport Beach resident Connor Turnbow-Lindenstadt led his SOCAL 12-and-under boys' teammates to the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics title in Irvine, scoring six goals in a decisive 12-4 victory over Foothill Water Polo Club on Aug. 2.
SOCAL won its seven games by outscoring its opponents by a combined 109-39, in a field of 48 teams from throughout the U.S. members of the SOCAL championship team included Campbell Gorlinsky, Jack Denny, Mason Reynoso, Brock Peterson, Zane Scott, Brett Leitner, Nicky Ure, Nolan Ortega, Jack Weggeland, Ethan Glasser and J.T. Miller.
Turnbow-Lindenstadt will be an eighth-grader at Corona del Mar Middle School. SOCAL is coached by Newport Beach resident Paden Mitchell, who is in his third year with the team and helped SOCAL improve from last year's third-place finish.
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Anteater Club excels at JOs
The Corona del Mar-based Anteater Water Polo Club had a big showing at the 42nd annual USA Water Polo boys' Junior Olympics, which were held at 27 different pool site venues throughout Orange County July 30 through Aug. 2.
The mixed 10-and-under Anteater team had a spectacular tournament, ending the four-day tournament ranked No. 3 in the nation. The road to their third-place ranking included a 12-6 win over Laguna, an 11-2 victory against Davis, an 11-7 win against Santa Barbara, an 8-6 win over the 680 Drivers from Walnut Creek, and two wins against the Elite Water Polo Club from Murrieta – an 11-9 win and a 9-6 victory in the third-place match. The only loss of the tournament was in a shootout against eventual tournament winner United. The score was tied 6-6 at the end of regulation, and United was able to win in the shootout by a score of 3-2.
Coached by Jesse Briggs and Marc Hunt, the under-10 Anteater roster included Triton Scott, Warren Loth, Connor McManigal, Kaveh Moaddeli, Michael Paduano, Shane Papa, Grant Loth, Spencer Wardwell, Sophie Wallace, Brannon Syler, Caden Strauss, Jonathan Lefebvre, Makana Sanita, Cole Fisher and Justin Cottrell.
The 12-and-under boys' Anteater squad also had a successful tournament, ending ninth in the gold division. The Anteaters finished the four days with a 15-10 win over the North San Diego Stars, an 18-8 victory over the Olimpiakan Reservner Water Polo Club Titans from Glendale, a 10-9 win against CC United of the East Bay and a shootout victory of 6-6 (4-1 in the shootout) against American River Water Polo Club of Sacramento.
The U12 boys' Anteater group was coached by Dreason Barry and Briggs, and the roster included Tamir Avital, Chris Cottrell, Charlie Jacobs, Will Klein, Jonathan Lefebvre, Nathan Madigan, Joe Rosensitto, Nick Severson, Caden Strauss, Sam Wardwell and Will Warwick.
The Newport Water Polo Foundation team, also coached by Hunt, had a great tournament too. The men's 21-and-under team ended the tournament as the No. 3-ranked team in the nation. They started the tournament with a 24-4 win against Navy AC, beat Santa Barbara Water Polo Club, 12-6, defeated DWPC Aggies, 14-5, beat Northwood Water Polo Club ,22-4 and then defeated the Aggies once again in the third-place game, 8-7. The only loss NWPF suffered was to Lamorinda Water Polo, 12-11, in the semifinal game.
The roster consisted of all UC Irvine players, including Alex Kazmier, Brian Pickford, Max Parrague, Blake Terry, Mitchell Wise, Justin Papa, Kyle Kittlitz, Cody Scoles, Nicholas Pfeil, Kyle Adama, Trent Baxter, Alan Robertson, Michael Bailey, Jacob Mourer and Bo De Lange.
Hunt, the head coach of the UC Irvine men's water polo team, is in China this week as head coach of the USA World University Games men's water polo team.
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CdM Aquatics 14U girls rise among nation's best
The CdM Aquatics 14-and-under girls lost to rival Newport Water Polo Foundation, 10-7, on Sunday afternoon in a "Battle of the Bay" for the 11th-place finish in the platinum division at the National Junior Olympics. The loss to their rival, however, didn't dampen the excitement of the team's performance over the four-day national tournament. By finishing 12th, the No. 15-seeded CdM Aquatics Club team jumped three spots nationally, a great feat in a tournament composed mainly of teams with rosters compiled with players from multiple high schools.
CdM grabbed a 3-1 lead in the first period against Newport on goals by freshmen-to-be Ashley Quinn, Sami Pratt and Shannon Frome. Newport answered with freshmen-to-be Chanel Schilling and Ellie Reid (USA Cadet national training team members) creating an inside-outside combination on offense, and the score was tied 3-3 at the end of the first period. CdM gained the lead again, 5-4, in the second period on goals by freshman-to-be Grace Morgan and eighth-grader-to-be Maddie Musselman (also a USA Cadet national training team member). Newport again fought back with a balanced attack and solid defense to lead at halftime, 6-5.
CdM's freshman-to-be Brianna Westrup got involved with the scoring in the second half. But Newport, despite missing starting freshman-to-be goalie Carlee Kapana (in Puerto Rico for the UANA Continental Youth Water Polo Championships), held CdM's offense to two second-half goals and Newport earned the 10-7 victory.
In reaching the 11th-place game CdM received strong contributions throughout the tournament from starting goalie Heidi Ritner and at both ends of the pool from Eliza Britt, Emily Ritner, Matilda Bress, Georgina Laube, Bridget Storm, Kelly Morgan, Alana Aguirre and Lauren Lamm.
CdM girls' aquatics is led by program director Sam Bailey, who had previous stints winning championships as a player at UCLA and as an assistant coach for the Stanford and UCLA men's and women's water polo programs. While Bailey was leading his 18U team to a solid ninth-place finish at the Junior Olympics, Bailey's 14U head coach Brian Mericle (who won a national title while playing at USC) and assistant Stephanie Schnugg (two-time captain of the Cal women's water polo team) led the 14U team.
Schnugg missed Sunday's game, as she and Newport 14U girls' head coach Leah Robertson are competing for Team USA in the World University Games that are this week in China. Many of the CdM 14U players are in Hawaii this week for the 16U & 18U Hawaii Invitational Tournament.
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