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International Water Polo Tournament Draws Big Field

Wendy’s High School Heisman Winner and Teams from
8 Countries Will Participate

Fort Lauderdale – In its fifth year, the South Florida International Water Polo Tournament has grown to become one of the most prestigious age group water polo tournaments in the world, drawing teams from 8 nations and 7 states among its 66 teams.  The tournament, organized by the International Swimming Hall of Fame, will be held February 16 – 19, 2007 at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

Among this year’s participants are two teams from Russian, boys from Checkov and girls from St. Petersburg.  Also participating are teams from Hungary, Israel, Canada, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico.

Among the standout players participating is Sam Finlayson, this Wendy’s High School Heisman Award Winner.  Finlayson won out over 15,000 student-athletes nominated by their principals and received his award in ceremonies televised by ESPN in December.  Finlayson, who attends San Ramon Valley High School in California, has signed to play water polo at Stanford University in September, where he will team up with former Northeast High School/South Florida Water Polo Club players Drac and Janson Wigo.  For more information about Sam and the Wendy’s High School Heisman,  http://www.wendyshighschoolheisman.com.

The South Florida Water Polo Club will be among the favorites in the 19 and under divisions.  South Florida is a Broward all star team with players representing some of the best players in the county, including:  Darren McKay, Chris Vahey, Joris Montero, Giovani Marinez from Florida State HS Champion Northeast, Brian Shoemaker, Felipe Tejero and Chris Culver from Cooper City, Greg Naranjo of Douglas and Alex Perez of Everglades.  On the girls squad are Elina Goldenberg, Andrea Victoria, Ashley Frank, Martina Shorkey of St. Thomas, Dana Mayeron of Cypress Bay, Alexis Andres of Pembroke Pines Charter and Julia Bonet of Cooper City.

Other local teams participating include Florida International WPC (N. Miami), Florida Coast (Miami), Miami White Caps, Cutler Ridge Riptides, St. Andrews WPC (Boca Raton) and Central Florida WPC (Orlando). 

The South Florida International Water Polo Tournament annually attracts some of the top college coaches in the country scouting talent and some local players have gone on to success in the NCAA.  This year, 4 local players were named to the NCAA All-American Water Polo Team:  Manga Santos (UCLA/Miami Beach H.S.), George Naughton (NAVY/Deerfield Beach H.S.) and Drac and Janson Wigo (Stanford/Northeast H.S.)

Greg LouganisEraldo

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