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Water polo a no go

WATER POLO: District informs Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar they may not compete in tournament in San Jose.

October 26, 2007|By Matt Szabo

Newport Harbor High boys’ water polo coach Jason Lynch said Thursday that he will be talking about smoke inhalation issues today in his health class at Newport Harbor.

A timely topic, to be sure, in the midst of the Southern California fires.

One thing Lynch won’t be doing, though, is coaching the Sailors. Neither Newport Harbor nor Corona del Mar will be playing in the TruWest Memorial Cup Invitational tournament which begins today in San Jose.

Both of the Back Bay teams were scheduled to play in the tournament, and flew up to Northern California on Thursday in preparation. However, they were then told by the Newport-Mesa Unified School District that game cancellations for Orange County high school teams, due to the Santiago fire, even applied to games played outside the county.

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Still, Mission Viejo was given clearance by its own district, and, along with Foothill, is expected to compete today.

“Our kids are coming home,” said Lynch, who was all right with the decision. “They have been breathing the smoke for about four days. It’s possible that if they go up there and start exerting themselves, even though the air up there is clean, that there could be some health issues.”

Corona del Mar Coach Barry O’Dea said 19 of his players are also up in the Bay Area, but plan to stay up there even though they won’t play in the tournament. O’Dea, who like Lynch never made the trip up north, said Sea Kings parents have still decided to turn the trip into a non-school sponsored group weekend and use it as a time for sightseeing and to visit colleges in the area.

Earlier Thursday, Orange County Superintendent of Schools William Habermehl held a conference call with the 15 Orange County high school district superintendents, including Newport-Mesa Unified School District Superintendent Jeffrey Hubbard. It was decided that all Orange County public high school games scheduled through Saturday would be either canceled or postponed.

However, the meaning of that decision appeared to be up for interpretation. According to Ray Gatfield, director of secondary education for the Saddleback Valley Unified School District, district superintendent Steve Fish gave clearance for Mission Viejo High to participate in the TruWest Memorial Cup since the event is out of the county. Lynch and several Newport Harbor team parents said that Foothill High is also being allowed to participate in the tournament.

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