Polo Tops National Power at Elite 8 Tourney

Jack Bunzel-Hardie, Staff Writer

Boys’ water polo knocked off 1 of the top teams in the country in their opening match at the annual Elite 8 tournament held at the Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles on October 3. The tournament, sponsored by S&R Sport, is a prestigious gathering of the best high school water polo talent in the nation, though most are from Southern California, the “Hub” of high school water polo.

Host Harvard Westlake, and visitors Newport Harbor and Loyola High, currently rank 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the country, respectively.

Miramonte, the only other Northern California team to attend, was seeded alongside Campolindo, in the bottom of the brackets.

The 7th seeded Cougars beat 2nd seeded Newport Harbor 10-9 to open the tournament. “This weekend we had an insane win over Newport Harbor,” said junior Brock Zamanian. “We really showed out during the tournament and I think that win specifically says a lot about how much we’ve improved as a team.”

1 of the biggest issues the team faced at the beginning of the season was their lack of experience. “We’re going to really go back to our fundamentals and a balanced approach this year,” said head coach Miles Price.

Almost half of the squad’s players are new to varsity play. What the team lacks in experience they have gained in chemistry though. Zamanian said, “Last year’s team had an insane amount of talent and skill compared to this year’s team…[but] our chemistry has reached a point that is beyond comparable.” 

Senior Logan Estes said his team began the years with a “mixed bag” of personalities and talents. According to Estes, the boys have “all suffered together and it’s improved how [they] play.”

Sophomore Brody Crouch said that he came into the year hoping “to have that good camaraderie that all teams want, but few really have.” 

 According to Price, the team, “still [has] a lot of work to do in regards to the mental toughness.”

I’m confident that by year end we will gel very well and be able to compete with anyone,” Price added.

The Cougar players are optimistic about their post-season chances. “I think our progress is apparent and I know we will continue to grow exponentially this season,” said Crouch.