Monday, May 14, 2012

North Allegheny Tiger Water Polo Players Bring Home Gold, Silver & Bronze in USA Water Polo National Tournament


Contacts: Nikola Malezanov, Head Coach, NASH Water Polo,, 443-995-2622
Victor Siclari, Media Contact,, 412-965-4912

North Allegheny Tiger Water Polo Players Bring Home Gold, Silver &
Bronze in USA Water Polo National Tournament;

Spring League Enjoys Record Turnout;

Upcoming Tournament Will Overflow NA Pool & Chartiers Valley HS;

Next Stop, Junior Olympics

McCandless, May 9, 2012– North Allegheny Water Polo continues to make a splash across the
country with its latest accomplishments by sending more than a dozen players of all ages to
represent the Northeast Zone in the national tournament in Boca Raton and Miami, Florida over
the March 30-April 1 weekend.

After months of training as part of USA Water Polo’s Northeast Zone (NEZ) Olympic
Developmental Program (ODP), sixteen players helped the NEZ teams take first, second and
third places in the competition among six zone teams, ranked by age and gender. The NEZ 12 th
grade and under team was coached by Nikola Malezanov, who is the head coach for the NA
High School varsity water polo boys and girls’ teams and the NA Tiger Water Polo club team.
The team and their parents agree that Nikola has significantly elevated the level of play and
accomplishments of the local water polo players by drawing on his coaching experience with the
varsity program at the US Naval Academy and as an assistant with the US Men’s National team.

NEZ 10th grade & under and 8th grade & under boys’ teams went undefeated. Max Staresinic, a
freshman, was named tournament MVP for the 10th grade & under boys. He and Nick Kohler
(from the 8 & under team) were selected to go to the National Training Camp (NTC) in California
over the Memorial Day weekend. NTC provides an opportunity for the players to continue to
train and hopefully be eligible for selection to play on the USA Water Polo men’s and women’s
national teams. Also contributing to the win for these teams were Ryan Pieton and Gabe Gaspar
(sophomores on the 10& under team), and Grant Rauterkus and Martin Raitt (8 under team).

The 12th grade & under boys’ team narrowly missed an undefeated tournament when they lost
by one shot in the final minute against the Mountain Zone team in a game whose score rocked
back and forth like a ship on a stormy sea. Representing the team were senior Zach Presto, who
will play Division I water polo at Iona College and was also selected for the NTC, and juniors
Domenic Caputo, Rob Clinger, Alex Shaffer and Steven Siclari.

Not to be outdone by the boys, the 10th grade & under girls’ team went undefeated for their
second straight year with sophomore Mia Siclari on the roster. She was also selected for NTC.
The 8th grade & under girls clinched second place with the help of Taylor McClelland and
Esma Dollaku. Esma was this NEZ team’s captain and was selected for NTC as well as the All-
Tournament Team, which recognizes the top players in the competition. Despite contributions
from junior Mary Riley and senior Meghan Mahoney, the 12th grade & under girls suffered some
narrow losses but still placed a respectable third in the tournament. Meghan was selected for the

NTC and 12& under All-Tournament Team, and also will be playing Division I water polo at
Iona in the fall.

According to Nikola, “Having so many players selected for the NTC proves how the hard work
in the practices improves their playing ability. Now the players have been rewarded for their
sacrifices and commitment, and the younger players are also encouraged to work hard because
they can see how it can pay off.”

Spring League Enjoys Record Turnout

For the third year, the Tiger Water Polo Club has run a Spring Instructional League to introduce
a new sport and activity to young athletes of many ages. The purpose of the League is to instruct
players on the fundamentals of water polo, implement the skills in games, and generally have fun
at a sport that is wildly popular on the West coast, and slowly but surely continues to catch on in
the East.

The program is run by the coaches of the Tiger Water Polo Club, and the players get additional
one-on-one assistance from the more experienced members of the Tiger Water Club’s high
school aged athletes. The League meets on Sundays over the course of two months, and has had
a record turnout of players, ranging from ages 7-16.

“The number of players this year shows how water polo has grown in popularity in this area,”
says Nikola. “We have had many players from Shaler High School and its surrounding district
participate in our program. We hope that it results in Shaler establishing its own high school
program in the near future.” Added Jim Staresinic, a key organizer of the league, a coach and
parent of two players, “Of the many things we do to promote the sport of water polo in the
Pittsburgh area, the Spring Instructional League is one that makes us most proud. Each year
more and younger athletes are giving it a try and – in the process – discovering an Olympic sport
that is fun, challenging and very social. It is rewarding to see young athletes find something they
truly enjoy doing.”

Upcoming Water Polo Tournament Is Overflowing with Participants

During the weekend of May 19-20, 2012, the NA Tiger Water Polo Club will be hosting what will
likely prove to be its biggest tournament yet. The Spring Invite will be attended by teams from
Canada, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Maryland, and due to the overwhelming interest,
the games will be played in two venues: at the NA High School and Chartiers Valley HS in
Bridgeville. Since the Club will also be holding its final Sunday play for the Spring League,
there will be hundreds of players—from beginners to aspiring Olympians—enjoying a sport
that leverages the skills of swimming and combines it with a spattering of the techniques found
in rugby, football, soccer, lacrosse, and hockey. The Spring Invite will be open to the general
public. For more details, please visit the Tiger Water Polo website @
and register your inquiry on the “Contact Us” tab.

Next Stop, Junior Olympics

And if the kids are bored once school ends, there will be plenty to keep them busy through the
summer until the High School varsity season training ramps up in August. (Did you not know this sport is year-round? How else can they stay in such great shape?) The Club is gearing
up for the world’s largest annual youth water polo tournament—USA Water Polo’s Junior
Olympics, which is a national competition of teams from all over the country who will gather in
Stanford, CA at multiple venues for about 10 days in July and August to compete for the best of
the best.

The Club’s goal is to field enough members to enter teams for 16 & under girls, 16 & under
boys, and 18 & under boys, as well as seek out players from other Northeast teams to round
out a 14 & under boys’ team. Nikola says, “I am excited to be able to take so many teams to
this competition. We will have the whole summer to hone their skills and leverage our summer
playing schedule. We expect to play a lot of tough games and know that our players will be
challenged, but expect them to step up to the challenge and ultimately return as better players.”

The opportunity to play water polo in outdoor pools in Southern Cal is a dream vacation that
has been experienced by many of the seasoned players over the last four years. The players also
take time to surf the Pacific in between games, and refuel their bodies by hitting every In-N-Out
Burger joint they can (this is a burger chain that began in 1948 as California’s first drive-thru
burger stand and is acclaimed by West Coasters as the best burger place around). Their mouths
are already watering at the thought of biting into the competition, and then the burgers.

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