What a difference a year makes.
That's what the Costa Mesa Aquatics Club must've been thinking with regard to its 10-and-under water polo team. The CMAC squad had its dream come true this past weekend. The team, coached by twin brothers Cody and Dustin Serrano, won its first big tournament title for CMAC, the club that was created just a little more than a year ago.
Last year, the CMAC 10U team finished dead last in the Winterfest tournament, losing all of its games. This year? First place. Champions of their division in the Winterfest tournament.
"We told them how great they played, that it was because it was all due to their practice and dedication," Cody Serrano said of what he told the team after the tournament. "Last year we didn't have any really good turnout to practice. It was spotty and it wasn't consistent. This year they showed up to practice every night. What they put into it was a lot of hard work and the outcome was first place. I couldn't be more excited."
Cody and Dustin Serrano, former Costa Mesa standouts who now play for Orange Coast College, said they took great delight in watching parents of the players congratulate their children with big hugs. That made the work put in even more worthwhile.
"It was just nice to see the kids so happy instead of seeing them on the losing end," Cody Serrano said. "It was a great tournament."
Everyone on the team felt great after going undefeated in the tournament. The CMAC 10U team beat Mid-Valley Water Polo Club, 12-4, in the championship game.
The team's run featured an 11-3 win over Irvine Anteaters, a 10-7 victory against Rocky Mountain Neptunes, a 12-3 triumph over South Bay United and a 17-2 rout of International.
"It was very exciting," Dustin Serrano said. "It's a great feeling."
Kevin Johnson, Augustus Cunningham, Teak Zachary, Caedmon Fisher, Makoto Kenney, Jose Quero and Stewart Campbell competed as the starters for the team and played well, Cody and Dustin Serrano said.
The team, that won the Mini-Mesa tournament Jan. 29, also featured Torsten Bodenhamer, Jennifer Murphy, Seyahmi Currie, Gavin Fisher, Erin Galvin, Emiko Tachiki and Sophie Jasinski.
Brennan Kane was injured but attended the games to support his teammates.
Tachiki, Jasinski, Galvin and Gavin Fisher scored their first goals during the tournament, Cody Serrano said.
They all went back to work this week, with practice on Tuesday night at the Costa Mesa High pool. Nearby on the deck, that's where the Winterfest championship trophy is kept in a case.
"We keep practicing," Cody Serrano said. "They come out and put in 110%. Their goal is for to be many more championships to come."