Friday, September 23, 2011

Mention in Post-Gazette today about water polo within the article about North Allegheny

Hi Friends,

Today's (Friday) P-G, has a sports article about water polo that gave
nice mention to our efforts in the city, now called Pittsburgh
Combined. Cut-and-paste of the news article is below.

For the past two years, we did play waterpolo games under the banner
of Schenley Water Polo, On Facebook, join the open group, Pittsburgh
Schenley Waterpolo.

The new coach at North Allegheny HS is great. He is mentioned in the
P-G article and moved to Pittsburgh after being an assistant at Navy
and with the USA national team. They are offering some support for us
in the city with more cooperation to come, I expect. This Sunday, our
players are invited to NA High School for some less-informal games /

A few different projects are in the works with program expansion in
the city in swimming and water polo. Grant applications have been
submitted and interviews are here. Specifics await, and participation
results remain to be seen -- but I am hopeful that we can get this
city swimming in vibrant ways for neighborhood kids in the months to
come. Help is welcomed.

Have a safe weekend!


Mark Rauterkus
412 298 3432 = cell

Friday September 23, 2011 Updated:

Water Polo: District's only team must travel to play
Friday, September 23, 2011

By Diana Saverin, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

At North Allegheny High School, students take their time spent in the
water seriously.

Beyond the team's successful swimming teams -- both boys and girls --
students have donned swim caps to take on another aquatic sport at
full speed ... water polo.

Last weekend, North Allegheny played host to its annual Tiger Classic.
The girls team swept four games and the boys won four out of five,
losing one game to Cumberland Valley.

While "home-pool advantage" certainly applies, it has taken on a new
meaning for this high school team. Since the program began in 2001,
they have had to travel significant distances just to find an

The nearest team has been in Erie, about 75 miles away. Recent
tournaments have taken place in Mechanicsburg and Reading; game
attendance means overnight trips on weekends for the team.

"It's challenging for the students," said Nikola Malezanov, the team's
coach. "But they bring their books, and they study and socialize on
the buses, so they aren't missing too much."

Despite the obstacle of having virtually no local competition, the
team is strong. A few of the players are on national training teams
for their age groups, said Malezanov, who began coaching the team last
month. He is optimistic about their chances this season.

"North Allegheny [water polo] is growing and growing, thanks to the
coach before me [Rob Semanchik]," he said. "We are now in the top
three or four in the state, and I think we have a shot to go all the
way and win states."

Malezanov's ambition is not limited to his own team. After the success
of North Allegheny's team, one of his goals is to develop water polo
programs at surrounding high schools in the Pittsburgh area. He says
that while a handful of middle school and summer programs exist, he is
still working with contacts at high schools to develop their programs.

"There are pools around, so the infrastructure is in place," Malezanov
said. "Having a water polo team offers a good opportunity to the

One water polo team, Pittsburgh Combined, started last year with
athletes from several Pittsburgh Public Schools and Shaler Area. The
team competed this past weekend in Ohio Cup Junior Varsity Water Polo
Tournament hosted in Worthington, Ohio, where they placed third.

But that program is just starting, and because it is not an official
high school program, the team cannot participate in an interscholastic
league in Pennsylvania.

Part of the success of North Allegheny's water polo team is linked to
its swimming and diving program, which is one of the best in the
state. Just last year, the girls team won the WPIAL Class AAA team
championship, while the boys team came in second. The water polo
program keeps top swimmers in the water throughout the offseason.

The strength of the water polo team is also related to a year-round
club team that feeds into the high school program, Tiger Water Polo
Club. Malezanov, who also coaches Tiger Water Polo Club, says 95
percent of the players are at North Allegheny high school or middle
school. They compete against other club teams, including the Navy's.
Like the high school team, playing currently means traveling: they
drive as far as Annapolis, Md., and Connecticut for tournaments.

The schedule for this season projects a similar high mileage series of
weekends, and will continue until Pittsburgh becomes the water polo
town Malezanov hopes it will.

First published on September 23, 2011 at 12:00 am


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