LOS ALAMITOS, CA, November 24. USA Water Polo has announced the roster for the 2005 FINA Junior Women’s World Championship in Perth, Australia, January 24-30, 2005.
Head coach Kyle Utsumi listed the squad this week in Los Alamitos (Calif.). The FINA Junior Women’s World Championships will take place It will be the first FINA-sanctioned event of the new Olympic cycle.
Utsumi, the former U.S. National Youth Team coach, has been working with most of these athletes since 2002, but it was difficult to nail down his 2004-05 roster from the 24 he has been carrying since May. The final roster features 13 athletes, plus two alternates.
“This hasn’t been easy,” he said. “But I believe we have an experienced team capable of fighting through tough situations and I think we’re going to be very competitive. We’ve been working together for a while so now with the roster finalized, we can start to focus on our roles on the team.”
Experience will definitely be a key for Utsumi’s 13. Six players will be playing in their second Junior World Championships, with one—Emily Feher (Santa Ana, CA/UCLA/SoCal)—heading for her third. Gabbie Domanic (Santa Ana, CA/UCLA/SoCal), the lefthander that competed with the 2003 World Champion team in Barcelona and was later named as the Olympic alternate for the Athens Games, will be playing in her second. Feher and Domanic were both members of the team that captured gold at the 2001 Junior Worlds, also held in Perth.
Also keeping a close eye on the team and its progress will be U.S. National Team head coach Guy Baker.
“The first Junior Worlds of the quad is extremely important,” said Baker. “We want to see who can compete at the senior level and possibly make the leap as we look ahead to Beijing 2008.”
The team features two players from outside of California in Alison Gregorka (Ann Arbor, MI/Stanford) and Elsie Windes (Portland, OR/Cal Berkeley/Tualatin Hills). Windes selection to the team is also a benchmark in the progress of the Women’s National Team for Baker and company in that she is the first player selected to a National Team after being identified at a P.A.C.E. (Programs for Athletes and Coaches Education) Clinic. Windes was pegged for the National Team level for her performance at the Corvallis clinic in October in 2002.
The Junior World Championships will take place in Perth, Australia, January 24-30, 2005. The U.S. will have a tough bracket to contend with when play opens there. In addition to 2008 Olympic host China, the U.S. will have to contend with historical provens Russia and Hungary.
For the latest on the upcoming Junior World Championships, keep an eye on www.fina.org. For more information on USA Water Polo or its National Team programs, visit www.usawaterpolo.org.
U.S. Junior National Team Roster – Alphabetical
Name Position Ht. Hometown Club Education
Molly Cahill ^ Attacker 5-9 Santa Barbara, CA Santa Barbara UCLA ‘08
Kami Craig Center 5-11 Santa Barbara, CA Santa Barbara Santa Barbara HS ‘05
Gabbie Domanic Attacker 5-6 Santa Ana, CA SoCal UCLA ‘08
Emily Feher Goalkeeper 5-9 Santa Ana, CA SoCal UCLA ‘07
Erika Figge Attacker 5-10 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA SD Shores USC ‘07
Alison Gregorka Attacker 5-9 Ann Arbor, MI Stanford ‘07
Katie Hansen Attacker 5-7 Coronado, CA Coronado Stanford ‘07
Brittany Hayes Attacker 5-6 Tustin, CA SoCal USC ‘07
Christina Hewko Center 5-10 Newport Beach, CA Stanford ‘07
Jillian Kraus Attacker 5-9 Tustin, CA SoCal UCLA ‘08
Kacy Kunkel Center 6-0 Laguna Beach, CA SoCal UCLA ‘08
Marina Mayer # Defender 6-0 Irvine, CA USC ‘07
Meridith McColl Goalkeeper 5-11 Mission Viejo, CA Stanford ‘07
Aimee Stachowski Defender 6-1 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA SoCal UC Santa Barbara ‘07
Elsie Windes Defender 5-10 Portland, OR Tualatin Hills Cal Berkeley ‘07
Head Coach Kyle Utsumi (Mountain View, CA)
Assistant Coach Bernice Orwig (Anaheim, CA)
Assistant Coach Kim Everist (Pleasant Hill, CA)
Team Manager Alan Cima (Santa Cruz, CA)
^ 1st Alternate
# 2nd Alternate