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The working vacation of sorts provides tough competition for the boys and girls teams

SUBMITTED PHOTO - The Newberg 18-U boys club team went 2-3 in the Hawaii tournament, while the girls went 3-2.

The Newberg club water polo teams traveled to Hawaii in late July for a weeklong tournament that provided significant tests against out-of-state opponents.

In between wandering the beaches of Oahu and enjoying the island weather, the boys' team went 2-3 while the girls went 3-2.

The tournament ran from July 30 to Aug. 4 and drew teams from California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii, along with some teams from out of the country.

"The boys played well," Newberg boys coach Jake Kinne said. "It was one game a day for five days, and we had a tough bracket against two teams that ended up getting first and second in the tournament. We played well against them given the circumstances."

The boys' first two games featured a 13-8 loss to a team from Commerce, Calif., and an 11-5 loss to North Harbour – a club that hails from Auckland, New Zealand.

Newberg followed that up by dropping its third game, 11-7, to a Hawaiian team prior to a pair of wins over Paramount (14-5) and Long Beach (12-5).

"We had a few days off and long travel, and things didn't break our way," Kinne said. "Overall, everyone was playing well and executing the things we work on, and we're looking forward to the high school season. I'm trying to put the guys in lineups that will be the varsity team for this year."

The girls lost their first two matches – 10-7 to Commerce and 8-5 to Oahu – but rattled off three consecutive victories to end the tournament. Newberg beat Honolulu 11-6, Central Oahu 10-1 and Paumalu 10-2.

Due to the cost and physical toll of attending both tournaments, Newberg's club program decided to make the trip to Hawaii in lieu of the Junior Olympics this season – something they have done in the past to switch it up for different classes of kids.

The result was a bonding experience that included plenty of high-quality water polo as well. Friends and teammates spent time on a vacation of sorts to the Hawaiian Islands while wrapping up their summer season in the pool.

Awaiting them back in Newberg in a couple weeks is the seemingly endless grind of fall workouts for varsity season, which will be led by boys coach Jim McMaster and girls club/varsity coach Cari Blanchard. The memories of the Hawaii trip are sure to linger in the athletes' minds as they prepare for the high school season.

"This trip was a nice change of pace from Junior Olympics – ultra competitive – to a fun and competitive tournament like the one in Hawaii," Kinne said. "It was a great trip for the boys' team and the girls' team to bond and come together as well."

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