The Ellis Aquatics 16-and-under girls water polo team gave a group of players experience with top regional competition this past weekend at the 2014 USA Water Polo Junior Olympics at various locations around San Jose and Palo Alto.
Ellis coach Matt Gumpert said that four of the 10 girls on the team, which went 4-4 between Thursday and Sunday, were playing in their first Junior Olympics. All of the players attend Kimball High and will be on the Jaguar team this fall.
Gumpert said that his goal in the tournament was to keep the team strong as new players joined the Ellis team or moved up from the 14-and-under level.
“The way we define success is not necessarily our record,” he said, “We got a sense that we were playing smarter every day.”
Ellis went 3-2 in group play to land in the silver bracket, the third highest of four levels in the tournament. Ellis claimed a 9-3 win over Diablo Red on Saturday and then lost 9-6 to Pacific Polo on Saturday and tied Burlingame A 8-8 on Sunday, with Burlingame winning the penalty shot round 3-2 at the end.
Gumpert said that Scarlett Green, Kamryn Lucero and Maddie Wittkowske, who will be sophomores this season, proved their strength in their first Junior Olympics.
“We knew they were good, but they really stood out in Junior Olympics,” Gumpert said, adding that Lucero turned out to be aggressive on offense and as a center defender and Wittkowske was effective as a backup for Tahnee Trew, a Kimball senior who was playing in her third Junior Olympics.
The team also includes senior Taylor Widner, in her first Junior Olympics, plus returning players A.J. Lee, Michaela Smith and Alyssa Anderson, all incoming juniors, and returning sophomores Domenica Avila and Sophia Fairfield.
“This was a very positive Junior Olympic group,” Gumpert said, adding that they worked hard and had fun.
“That’s why this off-season development is important.”
Contact Bob Brownne at firstname.lastname@example.org or 830-4227.