By Kathy Day
The San Diego Shores 12-under water polo team can call themselves national champions after knocking off an Orange County team in the Platinum Division of the National Junior Olympics Water Polo Championships.
The boys, along with other Shores' teams, and another from La Jolla Water Polo included a strong contingent of La Jollans, including Andrew Chun and Evan Elig from The Bishop's School who were named Most Valuable players after capturing the title.
The tournament was held July 31 to Aug. 2 at several pools in the Los Angeles area.
The Shores also fielded teams in the 12U Gold Division, 14U Platinum and 18U Platinum that brought home bronze medals and a 16U team in the Platinum Division that finished fourth. In addition the La Jolla Water Polo club's 14U boys, competing in the national event for the first time, finished 20th out of 56 teams that qualified.
The national championship 12U team — playing in the elite division featuring the top 24 teams in the country — included Elig, Chun and Noah Fales, who attend The Bishop's School, and Mike Elliott and Cooper Clark who go to Muirlands. Elig and Chun were named co-MVPs.
The team notched big wins over Clovis (21-3), Stanford (14-6), Davis
(20-6) Rose Bowl (8-7), ORWP (Glendale) (10-8) and Los Angeles Water
Polo Club (9-6) in the preliminary games. The gold medal game against Orange County was played in front of a capacity crowd in downtown Los Angeles.
The Shores' B team, including La Jollans Zack La Grange from Bishop's, Casey Brown and Tristan Macelli from Muirlands, John Murphy from All Hallows and Connor Carpenter from Evans School, took third in the 12-under gold division. The team overcame a seven-goal, first-half deficit to defeat the Dallas Water Polo Club 11-8 to get their bronze medals.
It took a shootout for the Shores' 14U team in the Platinum Division to get their third place medals with a 9-8 win over L.A. Water Polo.
On the 18 and under boys side, SD Shores captured more of bronze awards, beating Lamorinda, 9-5. All of the players either attend school or train in La Jolla at The Bishop's School.
Team members are Tanner Denaro, John Paul Engh, Drew Hoffenberg, Alex Bowen, Billy Tifft, James Hixson, Charlie Reed, Christian Clark, Adam Wrobel, Stephen Vint, David Higginson, Andy Pena, Greg Nelsen, Emilio Marrero and Matt Michalko. They are coached by Doug Peabody, who is also president of the Shores club.
In the 16U bracket in the Platinum Division SD Shores finished fourth after a loss to L.A. Water Polo, 11-5. That team included Kevin Levine, Caleb Schultz, Blake Lee, Sean Barlow, Stephen Tifft, Patrick Linehan, Alan Williams, John Koning, Brandon Flores, Travis Webster, Trevor Saurbrey, Noah Gaarder-Fiengold, Joey Lomedico, Mike Meigs and Viktor Wrobel.
The La Jolla Water Polo team, playing in their first Junior Olympics, is coached by Tom Martinez, a former UCLA All American.[gallery link="file" order="DESC" columns="2"]