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Fryer: No. 1 seed could be up for grabs in water polo

STAFF COLUMNIST

For most of the boys water polo season, it looked like Harvard-Westlake of Studio City would be the No. 1 seed in CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.

Harvard-Westlake has been the division’s top-ranked team since the first poll was released in mid-September.

On Wednesday, though, Harvard-Westlake lost to Loyola of Los Angeles, ranked No. 6 in Division 1.

Huntington Beach, No. 2 in this week’s Division 1 top 10, could be the division’s top-seeded team when CIF-SS boys water polo brackets are released Saturday morning. Orange Lutheran is ranked No. 3 and Mater Dei is No. 4 in the division.

The polls affect seedings but other factors also influence where teams are placed in the 16-team brackets.

Harvard-Westlake is 2-0 against Huntington Beach this season.

The water polo pairings will be available Saturday at ocvarsity.com.

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

• Three O.C. boys water polo teams are ranked No. 1 in their CIF-SS division: Laguna Beach (Division 2), Northwood (Division 4) and Katella (Division 7).

• CIF-SS football playoff brackets will be released Sunday and will be available at ocvarsity.com upon release.

• Sunday begins with the posting of at-large teams at 8 a.m. After that, the brackets are released in bunches: Divisions 2, 5 and 9 at 10 a.m.; Divisions 3, 6 and 11 at 10:30 a.m.; Division 1 at 11 a.m.; Divisions 4, 7 and 12 at 11:30 a.m.; and Divisions 8, 10 and 13 at noon.

• It’s possible, perhaps probable, that all six Trinity League football teams will be in the 16-team Division 1 bracket. There are 18 teams in the division, and it looks like Alemany of Mission Hills and Loyola are the two teams that won’t be in the bracket.

• It’s ironic that Sage Hill football’s departure from the Academy League forced the disbanding of the league for football, and as a result Brethren Christian, which is 8-1, won’t be in the playoffs, but Sage Hill, which left Academy League football to become an 8-man football program, is in the CIF-SS 8-man playoffs.

• Maybe one of the CIF-SS leagues should present this proposal for future football playoffs: Keep the competitive equity model that is making its debut this season but have only league champions get automatic playoff berths. Then a CIF-SS football playoff selection committee, akin to the type of committee that selects Open Division teams for CIF-SS basketball playoffs, selects teams to fill the brackets.

• The letter of intent early signing period begins Wednesday. It is a one-week signing period for many sports, including basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball and tennis. The regular signing period for those sports begins April 12.

• The letter of intent signing period for football, soccer and boys water polo begins Feb. 1.

• Among the more interesting signees will be Villa Park basketball player Evan Battey, who has committed to Colorado. Battey, a 6-foot-7 forward, cannot play for Villa Park this season, his senior season, because he already used up his eight semesters of athletic eligibility. He repeated ninth grade at Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES), and although he did not play sports during that year, those two semesters count toward his eight semesters of eligibility.

• Also expected to sign: Esperanza 6-8 forward (but he plays like a guard) Kezie Okpala, who committed to Stanford; Mater Dei 6-10 senior forward Miles Brookins who committed to La Salle of Philadelphia. Okpala, like Battey, was first-team All-County last season.

Contact the writer: sfryer@scng.com


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