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Top collegiate squads from around the country descend on Chehalem Aquatic Center to compete for a national title

PMG PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - Sixteen teams from across the country descended on Newberg Nov. 11-13 to compete in the Men's National Collegiate Club Championship.

On Nov. 11-13 the best collegiate water polo clubs in the country traveled to Newberg's Chehalem Aquatic and Fitness Center to battle it out in the 2022 Men's National Collegiate Club Championship.

Newberg is no stranger to high level water polo, albeit at the high school level. Newberg High's boys and girls teams have combined for more than three dozen state championships. However, this is the first time a high-level collegiate competition has come to the city.

Newberg water polo legend Jim McMaster, the multiple time championship-winning coach at NHS, said he was delighted to see the competition come to this part of Oregon for the first time.PMG PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - The level of play at the aquatic center was a step above the high school squads that usually take to the water at the Chehalem Aquatic Center.

"Economically, this is nice for the community," the retired coach said. "And (was) great for people to go see it because we're talking big athletes. It's not high school water polo, you're going to see good players, especially during the semifinals and finals."

The 16 clubs in attendance included host Oregon State University, University of Michigan, U.S. Military Academy, University of California, University of Alabama, University of California — San Diego, Dartmouth, among others.

Teams advanced to the championships via qualifying tournaments held across the country. McMaster explained that the squads are made up of athletes unable to play at the D1 level due to the intensities of their studies and other factors.

After dozens of games over a three-day period, the University of California — San Diego outdistanced Cal Poly 7-6 to win the national championship on Sunday. It was UCSD's first championship after finishing second in 2021, third in 2019, fifth in 2018 and ninth in 2013.

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