Local water polo teams stand out

Huntington Beach Water Polo Club teams turned in strong showings at the 2012 SwimOutlet.com Junior Olympics water polo national championships.

The clubs' girls' 18-and-under "Blue" team won silver, and the boys' 12-and-under and 16U teams, and the 10-U Coed team, all won bronze medals. The tournament, in its 43rd year, was held in the San Francisco Bay area. The boys' tournament was played July 28-31. The girls' tournament started Aug. 2 and ended Sunday .

12U Boys Championship division: The team, paced offensively by center-forward Wyatt Benson, won bronze after finishing in third-place. Huntington dropped a semifinal match against a SOCAL Aquatics team that went on to win division gold. Huntington beat SHAQ Aquatics in the third-place game.

14U Boys Championship division: The 14U team turned in its best showing, seventh-place, at the tournament in several years, HBWPC Coach Brian Anderson said. Huntington went 4-3 in the tournament and scored a 10-5 win over Greenwich Aquatics of Connecticut in the seventh-place game.

The boys' 14U Orange team finished ninth in the Challenge division.

16U Boys Challenge division: Huntington earned a third-place finish and the bronze medal in the division after going 6-1. The team rolled to wins in its first five games, beating Northern Elite of northern California (10-2), Jungle Cat Water Polo Club of Missouri (12-2), Corona del Mar (10-2), South Bay United Black (15-4), and Stanford B (10-6). Huntington fell, 6-3, to SOCALl Gold, but finished play with a 14-5 win over Trojan (Palos Verdes) in the third-place game.

18U Boys Championship division: Huntington went 3-5 overall and placed 16th. In its final game, Huntington dropped a 13-5 match to the San Diego Shores "A" team.

10U Coed division: Huntington ripped off five-straight victories to start the tournament, and ended its run with a third-place finish and a bronze medal. The team started tourney play with wins against VC Premier of Simi Valley (11-1), United (10-0), Newport Beach Inc. (12-1), Northwood of Irvine (8-5) and Rose Bowl of Pasadena (6-3). Huntington's only loss was a one-point setback to eventual division winner Kahuna of Irvine, 7-6. The squad came back to down International (Los Alamitos), 7-2, in its tournament finale Sunday .

16-U Girls Championship division: Huntington sent two teams, Orange and Blue, to the tournament. The Orange team finished in 17th-place and the Blue team was impressive in finishing fourth.

18-U Girls Championship division: The Huntington Blue team, coached by former U.S. Olympian Natalie Benson, reached the championship game for the second-straight year. Huntington was edged, 8-7, by Santa Barbara in Sunday's title match.

The Huntington Orange team finished in eighth-place.

Anderson, who coaches the 16U boys' team, led each of the boys' team at the tournament.

"Huntington Beach Water Polo has done a phenomenal job in developing the sport in our city and community," he said. "Our young athletes and families are very dedicated to the sport and the culture of water polo, and remain committed to the future.

"This is a huge thing for our city. It was not like this when I was a student-athlete and water polo player in Huntington Beach. Our coaches are the best in the country, top to bottom, as both the boys' and girls' side of the club continues our commitment to excellence."

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