The 14-and-under boys' Blue (A) team from Vanguard Aquatics of Huntington Beach captured gold Tuesday at the 44th annual USA Water Polo Junior Olympics.

Vanguard 14U Blue won the Championship Division tournament and gold medal by defeating Foothill Red (A), 11-8, in the division final at UC Irvine.

Four Vanguard teams, all part of Session 1 of the tournament, played games at various venues in Orange County. Competition was held in Championship and Classic divisions for each age group.

The tournament started Saturday.

Vanguard 16U boys posted a 5-2 record and won the silver medal in the Classic Division. The 14U Silver boys went 5-3 and took 10th place in the Classic Division, and the 12U boys went 5-2 in the Championship Division and took third place for the bronze medal.

Ranked first nationally in its division. Vanguard 14U Blue won its first six games to reach the division's title game. Included in that streak with a 9-2 win Tuesday over L.A. Premier Black "A."

The team started the tournament with a 14-0 rout of Bainbridge Aquatics (Washington) Saturday, defeated both L.A. Premier Black "A" (8-6) and Santa Barbara "A" (11-5) Sunday, and Irvine Kahuna Black "A", 13-7, Monday.

Vanguard's Quinten Osborne was named the MVP of the tournament.

The Vanguard 14U Blue boys' team: Adam Mancini, Andy Tucker, Ashworth Molthen, Benjamin Schmiesing, Jackson Seybold, Jake Cavano, Jason Dompke, Keegan Coleman, Mathew Robert, Patrick Saunders, Quinn Simpson, Quinten Osborne, William Khouri, Wyatt Benson. Head coach: Uros Dzelebdzic. Assistant coaches: Sasa Branisavlejic, Djoko Radunovic, Brian Anderson.

The Vanguard 16U Blue boys' team came close to winning a national title in its division but was edged, 10-9, by Elite in Tuesday's Classic Division final at Tustin High. Vanguard 12U Blue A boys reached the final four in its division and finished in third place in the Championship bracket by defeating Lamorinda Water Polo Blue (A), 9-7 Tuesday at El Toro High.

Vanguard 14U boys' Silver (B) team finished in 11th place in the Classic bracket.

"It has been quite the year for the 14U Vanguard team," Brian Anderson said. "The reason why our boys were able to win a Junior Olympic national championship is because of their belief in the system and coaching staff, and the confidence each one of them built for themselves, while buying into a 'team' concept of play.

"Each player played a significant role in the road to the championship, and the lessons they learned and the experiences they had will only benefit them more in their exciting road that leads ahead."

Two teams from Huntington Beach Water Polo placed at the Junior Olympics Tuesday. The 18U boys' team took 15th in the Championship bracket by defeating American River A, 15-6, at Capistrano Valley High. The 16U boys' team placed ninth in the Championship bracket after it beat Tiger Aquatics Water Polo, 14-5, Tuesday at Woodbridge High.

Session 2 of the Junior Olympics, which includes teams from Vanguard and Huntington Beach Water Polo, starts Thursday and runs through Sunday.

More than 500 teams and 8,000 athletes were scheduled to compete for national championship titles in 18 divisions.

— Mike Sciacca

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