Several local youth water polo teams will compete at various venues in Orange County starting Saturday when USA Water Polo's 44th annual Junior Olympics get underway.
More than 500 teams and 8,000 athletes are expected to compete for national championship titles in 18 divisions.
Vanguard Aquatics of Huntington Beach has qualified five teams and Huntington Beach Water Polo has qualified seven teams for the tournament. Teams qualified for the national event through their respective Zone Qualifying Tournaments.
The Junior Olympics is divided by into two sessions: Session One starts Saturday and runs through Tuesday. Session Two is Aug. 1-4.
Vanguard Aquatics will send four teams, 16U boys, 14U A (Blue) and B (Silver) boys, 12U boys to the first session, and its 10U coed team to the second session of the Junior Olympics.
Vanguard 16U boys' Coach Brian Anderson said the team is ranked first nationally in the Classic division. The 14U "A" team (Blue) is ranked first nationally in its division and is coming off a championship performance earlier this month at the United States Club Championships. The 14U A team defeated Foothill Water Polo Club, 11-8, in the division final.
Foothill is the No. 1-seed in the 14U boys tournament in the upcoming Junior Olympics, Anderson said.
Vanguard's 14U B team (Silver) is also ranked nationally in the Classic Division. The 12U boys' team is ranked second nationally and its 10U coed team is also ranked first in the nation.
The 10U and 14U A teams took first place in their respective Junior Olympic Zone Qualifying tournaments.
"We are excited to see how the teams from our city fare in the tournament, as we play in the National Championship tournament," Anderson said. "Every day Vanguard families are excited to watch the kids perform and excel in aquatics. Not only do athletes and parents watch their respective teams, but they travel from game to game to see how other age groups play."
— Mike Sciacca
The Huntington Elite (T.H.E.), the 12-and-under Gold All-Star team from Huntington Beach Girls Softball, has qualified for the Amateur Softball Assn. Western Nationals.
The tournament starts Wednesday at Peoria, Ariz.
T.H.E. turned in a strong summer season that included winning the ASA So Cal-Central District Championship, going 5-0 and beating out 16 teams from Orange County to take the title. The tourney win advanced T.H.E. to the ASA Southern California States Championship last month where they finished seventh among 32 teams. The result qualified the team for the Western National Championship.
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