On the way to Cal-i-forn-i-a

Nich Wolak • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:50 PM

California dreaming is a reality for a number of Grand Haven water polo players.

Ten different Buccaneers will be heading to San Jose next week for the 2014 USA Water Polo National Junior Olympics, which takes place at various area pools from July 26-29.

The Grand Haven players are scattered across the U-14 and U-16 Rockford Aquatics Center club teams, actually outnumbering the number of Rockford players on the squads.

Grant Ruster, Mason Fritz, Reilly Wisneiwski, Collin Reenders, Brigham Thornock, Joshua Koornneef and Matt Beals help make up the U-14 squad, while Cole Kramer, Logan Snider and Hayden Schouman round out the U-16 team.

Both squads advanced via top-8 finishes at the Midwest qualifier held at Rockford hosted the Midwest qualifier on July 11-12. The host U-16 team won the tournament, while the U-14 edition came in second.

Kailey Miller, who coaches the Grand Haven junior high program and boys junior varsity, said the players have been making the commute to Rockford every day to practice since June 2.

“A lot of it is these boys' willingness to learn and being committed to the sport,” Miller said. “They come in, they’re devoted. They work harder than any kids I can remember, even when I was in high school. It’s something that has been rubbing off on everyone around them. They have been motivating each other and it’s been really awesome to see.”

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