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El Monte Gets Aquatic Opportunities

HIGH SCHOOLS / SPOTLIGHT | Boys' Water Polo : NOTES

September 19, 2001|Dan Arritt

There is no water polo team at El Monte High, but 200 yards down the street construction of a new aquatic center is in full swing.

Groundbreaking on the El Monte Aquatics Center took place in July.

The publicly funded center is expected to be complete during the summer of 2003 and will include three swimming pools, one in a 56,000-square-foot building.

The indoor area will feature folding bleachers and a mobile bulkhead along the base of the pool, allowing a variety of depths. The indoor facility is considered the perfect venue for high school water polo, except no high schools in the area, including El Monte, have programs.

"Hopefully, in the future, the center will allow us to field swimming and water polo teams," said El Monte Athletic Director Jim Hicks.

The complex will replace the only swimming pool in the city of 120,000.

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Recharging Edison: The pieces are coming together for Jans Baltgalvis.

After four years of coaching at Huntington Beach Edison, his first recruiting campaign is beginning to reap rewards.

The Chargers, scheduled to begin play Thursday in the prestigious South Coast tournament, are a slight favorite to win the talent-rich Sunset League, a prediction not heard since long before Baltgalvis' arrival.

"When I first started here, we were just happy to win a league game," he said. Edison showed its capabilities two weeks ago against the alumni, outplaying several members of the 1991 team that won the school's last Sunset League title to end a three-year losing streak. The Chargers advanced to the semifinals of the Poway tournament last weekend, where they lost to the Poway, one of the top teams in the San Diego Section.

Baltgalvis, a state lifeguard at Huntington Beach, has rebuilt the program from the ground up, encouraging younger students with no water polo experience to try the sport and slowly developing them into top-level players.

His most-prized project is two-meter player Matthew Budnick, who never played before high school . "He's the first Division I prospect I've coached," Baltgalvis said.

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Busy schedule: Long Beach Wilson will travel today to Newport Harbor to make up a nonleague game.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

THE TIMES' RANKINGS

1. Corona del Mar (0-0, SS-Pacific Coast)

Friday's game against Foothill will not be made up.

2. Anaheim Servite (1-0, SS-Serra)

Opens South Coast tournament against Long Beach Poly.

3. Santa Ana Foothill (1-0, SS-Century)

Moved up from No. 4 after beating El Toro.

4. Long Beach Wilson (0-0, SS-Moore)

Season begins today against Newport Harbor.

5. San Clemente (1-0, SS-South Coast)

Tritons in weakest bracket of tournament.

6. Lake Forest El Toro (0-1, SS-South Coast)

Chargers drop three spots after losing to Foothill.

7. North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (1-0, SS-Mission)

Defeated defending Division III champion Mira Costa in season opener.

8. Villa Park (1-1, SS-Century)

Spartans have tough one this weekend.

9. Huntington Beach Edison (5-1, SS-Sunset)

Chargers have been busiest team.

10. Anaheim Esperanza (2-0, SS-Sunset)

Defeated Laguna Beach and took its spot in top 10.

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