Steve Mosher knows his Clovis West High boys water polo team is far from the favorite to win 33rd Clovis Championships this weekend.
But Mosher said his revamped Golden Eagles will be better for having played in the 12-team tournament that mixes top programs from Southern and Northern California against Clovis Unified's five schools.
"In my mind, and of course I'm biased, it's the best tournament in Central California and probably one of the top five in the state and nation as far as quality teams," said Mosher, The Bee's reigning Coach of the Year. "Anyone who doesn't want in this tournament, even if they go 0-4, is kind of nuts in my mind. When you play the big boys, you find out where you're at."
This year's tournament features SoCal powers in Capistrano Valley-Mission Viejo and San Clemente, as well as NorCal heavyweights Granite Bay, Monte Vista-Danville, Las Lomas-Walnut Creek, Woodcreek-Roseville and Belle Vista-Fair Oaks.
Clovis, Clovis North and Granite Bay all finished among the top six teams at the prestigious John Schmidt Tournament last weekend in San Jose, while last season's Central Section Division I runner-up, Buchanan, is always a dangerous team.
Clovis West, which upset Buchanan last season to win a second straight D-I crown, is replacing virtually its whole lineup. Goalkeeper Thomas Patty and field player Ting Williams return, but other than part-time field player Zach Chapman, the Golden Eagles are short on experienced players.
"We've got good kids, big kids with a lot of desire," Mosher said. "We've just got to find the key to it. I know we're better now than we were two to three weeks ago."
The tournament, at the Clovis West and Clovis pools, begins at 1 p.m. today, with the last pair of games starting at 6.
Play resumes Saturday at 8 a.m., with the final scheduled for noon, the third-place game at 1 p.m., the fifth-place game at 2 p.m. and the seventh-place game at 3 p.m. -- all at Clovis West.
Clovis hosts the ninth-place game at noon and the 11th-place game at 1 p.m.
Boys water polo: Clovis Championships
Vitals: 1 p.m. today and 8 a.m. Saturday, with the final at noon Saturday at Clovis West
Where: Clovis West and Clovis High pools
Teams: Buchanan, Clovis, Clovis East, Clovis North, Clovis West, Bella Vista-Fair Oaks, Capistrano Valley-Mission Viejo, Granite Bay, Las Lomas-Walnut Creek, Monte Vista-Danville, San Clemente and Woodcreek-Roseville
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