Men’s water polo competes in national championship

By By Jessica Dunn

By Jessica Dunn

The U men’s water polo team is heading to the 2007 Men’s National Collegiate Club Championship at the University of Arizona this weekend for the first time.

The team is ranked in the 15th position for the championships. The men are this year’s Rocky Mountain Division champions with an overall record of 12-2 this season.

The Utes beat the University of Colorado 9-8 in overtime at the Rocky Mountain Division Championships to gain the spot in the national championship.

“We’ve worked harder this year than we ever have before,” coach Michael Goldhardt said. “(The team’s) attitude and efforts were 100 percent better this year. They wanted to win.”

The water polo team will play their first game on Friday against No. 2 Grand Valley State University.

Utah is confident going into the game because Grand Valley lost by 11 points to a team that the U came close to beating at the start of their season, Goldhardt said.

“As long as we don’t get nervous, upset or scared, we should beat them,” Goldhardt said. “If we beat this number-two team, we’ll be in the championship game.”

Unlike university teams such as basketball and football, the water polo team is a club sport and therefore gets no funding from the U.

Still, the teammates manage to practice every weekday for two hours and represent the U on the weekends by paying their own way to travel to tournaments.

The U’s team is one of two men’s water polo teams in the state. The other comes from Utah State.

The championship tournament starts on Friday morning and goes until Sunday, when the championship game is scheduled. The 16 teams continue to play until each place is determined. Winners play winners of other games, and the loser of each game plays another loser.

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