By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
BAHAMIAN water polo players concluded their historic appearance at the USA Water Polo National Junior Olympics.
In a joint effort with the Houston Storms Water Polo Club, the six members of the Bahamian Mantas Water Polo Club - Saequan Miller, Gabriel Sastre, Alexander Turnquest, Nicholas Wallace-Whitfield, Gabriel Encinar, Damian Gomez and Thor Sasso - formed a select team "BahTex ManStorm" and finished 24th out of 48 teams in the Under-16 Classic division at the event in San Jose, California.
The team exited the tournament with a 15-7 loss to the Clesea Piers in their final contest following a 10-8 loss to San Jose WPF.
The BahTex ManStorm opened the tournament with a 7-3 loss to the N San Diego Stars but followed later that afternoon with a 9-6 win over Praetorian WPC. They advanced to the upper 24 teams division with a 5-4 win over Raptor A.
In the final group of 24, the team suffered consecutive losses to Vanguard Red (11-4) and CDM Aquatic White (8-7). The losses placed the ManStorm in Group S and in contention for 24-21 place out of the 48-team field bracket.
The team suffered a 12-10 loss to NIPC yesterday and had an evening matchup against WPF B team. However, those results were unavailable up to press time last night.
The USA Water Polo Junior Olympic Championships is the largest age group water polo tournament in America with over 400 teams competing over the course of the four-day event. Athletes and teams come from across the country to compete on the national stage. The Junior Olympics Tournament consists of two divisions, the Championship Division and the Classic Division. The Bahamian players first joined the Storms at the Southwest Zone Junior Olympics Qualifier tournament in Houston, Texas, last month where they finished fourth out of 10 teams.
While in California, the team also attended an expo being held by USA Water Polo. This expo featured presentations on the path to college water polo, being a triple impact competitor, elevating your game and a mental skills clinic. Additionally, there was a college coach meet and greet for rising grade 12 players.
Miller was recently awarded a college scholarship to play water polo for Salem University, a first for Bahamian water polo.