Water polo league wrapping up action for the summer

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Robin Sanchez has coached water polo at El Capitan High School since 1988. He can be found on the campus pool deck during both the fall boys’ season and the winter girls season.

He can also be found on the pool deck during the summer as high school teams begin their embryotic development toward full-blown preseason training camps.

Robin Sanchez has coached water polo at El Capitan High School since 1988. He can be found on the campus pool deck during both the fall boys’ season and the winter girls season.

He can also be found on the pool deck during the summer as high school teams begin their embryotic development toward full-blown preseason training camps.

Sanchez serves as director of the popular East County League, which operates under the auspices of the American Water Polo organization. Its purpose is simple: to provide extra pool time for players during the extended off-season.

“This is to give teams an opportunity to get moving into the high school season,” Sanchez noted. “We have a mix of varsity players and junior varsity players who are competing.”

The league, which features a June to July timeline, includes boys and girls’ teams in 16-under and 18-under age divisions. Playing sites are throughout East County on weekday evenings, with monthly tournaments thrown in to spice up the action.

For instance, the Southern Invitational boys’ tournament took place last weekend at Valhalla High School. Norse finished 3-0, followed by the Mustangs South Coast Blue and Black teams, both at 2-1, Rancho San Diego at 1-2 and Southern at 0-3.

Two tournaments are scheduled this weekend at San Diego Mesa College—a boys “A” tournament on Saturday, July 19, and a girls tournament on Sunday, July 20. Both tournaments run all day.

The East County League includes high school club teams from throughout East County—for instance, the Cowboys represent El Capitan and the Wolfpack represents West Hills—as well as from neighboring Ramona and the South Bay.

The 18U division is intended for returning varsity players while the 16U division is intended for junior varsity-level players.

The 18U boys division features an impressive list of 10 teams. League games continue through Thursday, July 17.

Rancho San Diego leads the 18U girls division with a 6-0 record and also tops the 16U girls division with a 4-0 record.

CIF or bust

The San Diego Section will have a new look for its playoff divisions in 2014-15 as teams will be placed in tiers based on competition ability as opposed to student-enrollment. Many teams that had found little postseason success at the Division I level will now compete at the Division II level, and some teams from the Division II level will move even further down to the Division III level.

And there will be some movement from the bottom to the top as well.

Sanchez admits the divisional switch should help some teams.

“It’s going to be interesting but, like many coaches who have been around a while, I’m going to take a wait and see attitude about it,” he said.

Re-leaguing within the Grossmont Conference could shake things up a bit this season as well. For the fall boys’ season, Santana moves from the Grossmont Valley League to the Grossmont Hills League and Helix moves from the Grossmont Hills League to the Grossmont Valley League.

“Granite Hills has a strong program and always seems to be the team to beat each year. I think Helix could be the favorite in their new league,” Sanchez noted.

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