With medals around their necks, and the adrenaline from winning surging throughout their bodies, the Lamorinda Club U16 boys stood undefeated after gaining the title of best team in the nation for their age group at the 2011 Junior Olympics. The team beat the LA Water Polo Club 12-10 in Orange County this August in a stunning comeback after being down in the first half. Not only did they win the entire championship, but Charlie Wiser ‘13 was also named MVP of the tournament due to his outstanding defense and leadership. The team consisted of 13 boys including five Miramonte students.
Juniors Jack Fellner, Drew Holland, Nick Solit, Wiser, and sophomore Tyler Kirchberg led their team to victory at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center.
This Lamorinda (Lamo) U16 team is no stranger to success. The team started playing together in December 2010, and has kept a perfect record. They were the champions of all major tournaments: Kap-7, Cal Cup, United States Club Championships, and to top it off, JO’s. Winning first place at JOs places you first in the entire country for the age group.
“It was just a feeling of pure elation,” said Kirchberg.
“It didn’t really seem like we had won until we actually received our medals. We all jumped in the pool, but it didn’t really hit me until then,” said Wiser.
At the beginning of the summer season, the team knew they were good, but that didn’t stop them from working as hard as they normally would. Monday through Friday, the boys would practice for three hours at the Soda Center, doing intense conditioning and scrimmaging.
“We just worked hard every minute at practice, conditioned as much as possible, and rested the week before,” said Holland.
When it came to game time, the team didn’t change their normal routine. “I mentally got in the zone, and just warmed up like normal,” said Solit.
Lamo coaches Trent Calder and Clarke Tamariki mentored the boys throughout the tournament, and watched as all their hard work paid off. “The team has grown both physically and mentally since the start of the season due to their hard work, and dedication to the sport they love,” said Tamariki. He attributes their success to “their ability to put the team before themselves, and their aptness to see how their actions affect each other on and off the field.”
Goalie Holland faced his own battle: his health. Back in March 2011, Holland experienced a stress fracture in his L5 vertebrae, basically cracking his lower backbone. This was caused by repetitive hyperextension. He was unable to do anything, including get in the water, until mid-July.
While it healed, Tucker Stone ‘14 from Acalanes and Spencer Creed ‘14 from Las Lomas filled in for him during tournaments. However, Holland made it back into the water after rigorous physical therapy. “I was rusty and out of shape from four months out of the water,” said Holland
Although faced with adversity and unexpected goal deficits, the Lamorinda U16 team managed to overcome them and win.