Five teams from Laguna Beach Water Polo Club ventured north for the 2012 SwimOutlet.com Junior Olympics water polo national championships during the past two weeks. All five qualified as top 10 teams, with two of those squads earning medals.
The boys' tournament was held July 28-31 and the girls' and 10-Under coed tournaments were Aug. 2-5, all in the Palo Alto area.
"We're very pleased to have our teams place in the top 10 for their age groups," said Chad Beeler, head coach and coordinator of Laguna Beach Water Polo Club. "I know our kids wanted to do better, but they did a great job competing against the top teams from around the country."
Laguna's 14U girls' team won silver and the 12U girls' team won bronze. Both teams competed in the Platinum bracket of the tournament.
The 14U girls' team went 6-1 and secured a spot in the semifinals of the 48-team division. In its semifinal game against Rose Bowl (Pasadena), Laguna jumped out to a 5-1 lead after the first quarter and ran away with a 15-6 victory. The triumph put Laguna in a finals match against Commerce, which reached the title game by beating Santa Barbara, 14-9, in the other semifinal.
In a final that was close throughout, Commerce scored the game's final four goals to win, 10-6.
The 14U girls' team, coached by Scott Baldridge and Erich Fischer, is: Bella Baldridge, Angelique Begay, Gabi Beren, Maia Borisoff, Haley Evans, Aria Fischer, Ally Jochim, Sophia Lucas, Holly Parker, Natalie Selin and Thea Walsh.
Laguna's 12U girls' team was part of a 27-team field and went 5-1 to move on to a semifinal game with Santa Barbara. Laguna scored the first goal of the game, but Santa Barbara pulled away to a 9-5 victory. The setback put Laguna in the third-place game against International (Los Alamitos). Laguna took a 2-0 lead after the first quarter and went on to win, 8-4.
"This team is a really close-knit group, both in and out of the pool," girls' 12U Coach Matt Tingler said. "That camaraderie paid off as the girls improved tremendously throughout the season. I'm really proud of their hard work."
The 12U girls' team is: Angelique Begay, Danielle Borelli, Evie Cant, Audrey Duffy, Elana Evans, Sophia Lucas, Isabel Riches, Joie Selin, Evan Tingler, and Thea Walsh.
In other Platinum bracket tournament finishes, Laguna's 10U coed team placed seventh, and the 12U boys' team placed ninth. In Gold division tournament play, Laguna's 12U "B" team finished eighth.
The Laguna 14U boys' team did not compete at the Junior Olympics.
Laguna teams begin their new season Sept. 4.
Liv Mitchell, an incoming seventh-grade student at Thurston Middle School in Laguna Beach, won two medals at the USA Age Group Junior Olympic Diving National Championships. The competition was Aug. 1-3 at Greensboro, N.C., and drew 315 divers from across the nation.
Mitchell competed in the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform diving competitions in the girls' 12-13 age group. The top 12 divers during the preliminary competition advanced to the finals in each competition. Mitchell, who turned 12 last month, qualified for the finals in 3-meter and platform. She won bronze in platform and placed 10th in the 3-meter event.
Mitchell competes for SoCal Divers, which was founded in Laguna Beach and trains its athletes at Fullerton Community College. The divers are trained by four-time Olympic diving head coach Scott Reich and assistant coach Tyce Routson.
Evan Williams, a sophomore- at Laguna Beach High and a member of the boys' soccer team, played with his club soccer team — South Coast Strikers FC — last month at the NI Milk Cup in Northern Ireland. Strikers FC competed in the Junior Section and captured the Vase championship.
The 30th annual event drew 46 teams from five continents, who competed in three age groups (Junior, Premier and Elite). Opening ceremonies were at Coleraine FC Stadium.
Each team initially played three games, and each team's record after the three games determined which trophy they would play for: Cup (championship level), Globe, Vase, Bowl and Plate.
Strikers went 1-1-1 in preliminary round play July 21-24. Strikers defeated Swindon Township (England), 5-0, lost, 2-0, to County Londonderry (Northern Ireland), played Dundaulk (Ireland) to a 2-2 tie and moved on to play for the Vase trophy.
In the Vase semifinals, Strikers scored a 4-0 victory over Ipswich Town (England). In the division final, Strikers took on an all-star team from North Dublin (Ireland) and scored on a penalty and went on to a 1-0 victory that clinched the Vase title.