Local team advances to USA Water Polo Junior Olympics

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  • | 10:24 a.m. August 20, 2015
SIDELINE SCENE: Next coach at UCF must recruit better locally
SIDELINE SCENE: Next coach at UCF must recruit better locally
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YCF Team Pic JO's

The YCF Gladiators, a youth water polo team competing out of the YMCA Aquatic Center on International Drive and comprising local boys, just completed a remarkable summer run.

The Gladiators’ 14-and-under team’s summer ended when it attended and competed in the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics in Orange County, California, for the first time in YCF club history at the end of July.

“I’ve been working with these kids since they were in the fifth grade, and this was something that we had been looking forward to for the past three-and-a-half, four years,” head coach Randy Walters said. “Their performance was unbelievable. … To see how well they came together and how well they performed was astonishing.”

The competition ended the careers for the boys within YCF Water Polo; the members of the 14U team will move on to high school play as freshmen at Dr. Phillips High School. Throughout their time with the program, Walters said the boys grew closer as teammates and as friends.

“They’re not only individual athletes but … most of them are best friends,” Walters said.

The experience afforded the local team an opportunity to compete against the best teams in the nation. Some of the coaches of those teams were the same coaches who trained Walters as a USA Water Polo coach just two years ago.

“One of the coaches said, ‘Randy, I trained you too (well),’” Walters recalled after his team had forced a shootout against Del Mar Water Polo, an elite club out of California. “It was a fun comment because I was one of his own coaches just two years ago.”

In a field of 48, the Gladiators placed eighth in their division. 

The team included Daniel Magrino, James Sweet, Liam Creus, Max Meisenheimer, Anthony Battestella and Isaac Teran. 

Meisenheimer, a center forward, and Battestella, a goalie, were named to the U.S. Junior National Youth team for their performances — the first time two YCF athletes had done so.

The memorable run left an impression on the boys — and their coach.

“It was just an excellent way to end my coaching career with these kids, and I look forward to seeing them all doing big things,” Walters said.

Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].


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