Water Polo at Junior Olympics
Over the summer, thousands of water polo players from all over the nation came to the Bay Area to compete in the Junior Olympics, run by USA water polo and hosted in part by our school. Many Los Altos players competed on SCV 16U and 18U club teams.
“This is the national tournament. Everyone that plays water polo comes to this tournament,” senior Ian McColl said.
Seniors Ian McColl and Mark Schreiber, as well as Kevin Stangl, ‘12, Dainen Bocsary, ‘11 and Matthew Orton, ‘12, played on the 18U team, though unlike the 16U team, the majority of the team came from other schools, which Ian said contributed to the team’s success.
“This year, we had Paly, Bellarmine, we had some people from Pittsburgh, from Florida, and because of that, we were able to get a team of studs,” Ian said. “We had people from everywhere.”
The team stepped up their playing to place an impressive 13th out of 48 in the platinum bracket this year, destroying their 34th seed under the coaching of Bega. The team finished with a record of 7-2, and although team members felt they were capable of medaling, a loss to a club from Los Angeles meant that the highest the team could place was 13th.
“This team was perfectly capable of medalling,” Stangl said. “Our conditioning was just a little lacking.”
Senior Afsheen Khosraviani played on the 16U team, placing 19th in the platinum bracket.
“We didn’t play our best especially on the first and second day,” Afsheen said. “Eventually we got our game together and finally started playing our game. But it was too late, especially if we wanted a medal.”
The tournament and club play helped prepare the Eagles for the upcoming season.
“I’d say 90 percent of the varsity team got experience, and I’d say because you play 9 games in 4 days, it’s really good experience learning to play water polo against good teams, and that will really help us,” Ian said.
Even for graduates, the tournament served as an opportunity to keep up the sport.
“One of the most enjoyable teams I have ever had the privilege to play on,” Stangl said.
Track at Nationals
While school water polo athletes could compete from home this summer, members of the track team journeyed to Baltimore for track nationals this summer to get a wider range of competition. To qualify, athletes had to place in the top of both the regional and association meets.
Senior Sarah Wobber was in Baltimore for five days, and competed in multiple events at the meet.
“The first event that I did was the 2000 meter steeple chase which was interesting because I hadn’t trained for a distance event in any way,” Sarah said. “My coach David Barth decided to throw me into it just for fun at the regional meet and I kept qualifying until I had the amazing opportunity to compete in nationals in which I placed 20th.”
Sarah placed 43rd in javelin, which she had also just started over the summer. To train for javelin, she practiced throwing and techniques.
“I tried unusual events this summer because I needed a mental and physical break from the events that I usually train for during the school season,” Sarah said.
Senior Danny Yeager, who also competed at the meet, placed 14th in the decathlon, 44th in 110 meter hurdles and 39th in high jump.
Danny had to train for each of the ten individual events of the decathlon, including ones he doesn’t usually participate in such as shot put, discus and pole vault. He didn’t do as well as he had expected given the rigor of the competition.
“Many of my competitors were near the top in their states, and it was also a really good experience to see them perform, because it showed me that CCS isn’t anywhere near the top and I have to work much harder to get to where I want to be,” Danny said.
Sarah said the meet was a change from what she was used to, due to both the competition and the environment.
“Despite the heat and humidity in Baltimore, I had a great time,” Sarah said. “What made this meet different was that the competition was much harder and the weather was way different from what I am used to. Also, there were 8,000 competitors in all which is way more athletes than I was used to.”