Less than one week after Newport Beach Water Polo Club's 18-and-under and 12-and-under teams returned home from Session One of the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics with bronze medals, the club's 10u co-ed team returned from Session Two with silver medals.
Playing 10 games in four days at multiple pools in the Stanford/Palo Alto area, this spirited group of 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds put in a remarkable performance. Powered by the all-around efforts of leading scorers Finn LeSieur, Ben Liechty and Billy Rankin, they rode a string of victories all the way to the final game, where they ultimately fell to arch-rival Laguna Beach Water Polo in a hard-fought match Sunday.
Boldly led by head coach Jenn McCall and the undying enthusiasm of team coordinator Hillary Springborn, Newport's squad of youngsters opened tournament play on Thursday morning, with a strong 8-3 victory over International Water Polo Club.
Following a tough loss to Stanford Water Polo Club on Thursday afternoon, Newport showed its resilience and came back strong on Friday with two victories featuring the relentless speed of Owen Bartlett and Ryan Feltch, along with the deadly left-handed sharp shooting of Kiernen Springborn and the gritty defense and counter-attacking of Troy McMillan.
Saturday brought more success, as Newport rode the combined goal-keeping skills of Cole Borrgreve and Sammy Hyatt to three more wins. Mason Hunt provided lockdown defense, while Makaelee Hansberger, Tyler "T-bone" Slutsky and Blake Postil contributed mightily to the team's offensive punch. Club youth director Marco Palazzo, was on hand during the day's third game to offer Italian-style encouragement and lift the players towards the final victory of the day.
Sunday saw the clutch outside shooting of Tommy Richardson and Peter Clark help lift Newport into the final game, where they fell just short to the squad from Laguna. Exhaustion had finally caught up to the young Newport team, but the players, many of whom emerged with green hair and red eyes from so many chlorinated hours of effort, were still smiling, as they proudly accepted their silver medals.
— Reader submission