NCAA men’s water polo teams to compete Saturday at Highland Park Pool
Four of the top men’s college water polo programs in the region will join the Renegades water polo club for a series of NCAA games and a celebration of the sport Saturday and Sunday at Citiparks Highland Park Pool and Washington & Jefferson College.
With W&J will be the teams from Gannon, Mercyhurst and Penn State Behrend.
Behrend will compete with both its main team and their B team.
“You don’t normally get to see NCAA athletes mix it up in a park setting,” said Renegades member and coach Mark Rauterkus, also a youth water polo instructor and former swim coach in the City League.
“It will be a fun day of competition. This could be a real catalyst for water polo in the area. People have to see it, and we hope it can generate interest where they say, ‘Hey, I could do that.’ Everyone is really excited for this weekend.”
Mercyhurst and W&J kick everything off Saturday at Highland Park Pool at 10 a.m. Gannon and Behrend’s main team will play at 11.
The Renegades Masters squad will face Behrend’s B team at noon, followed by Behrend’s main team against Mercyhurst at 1 p.m.
The rest of the Saturday schedule at Highland Park Pool has Gannon against W&J at 2, with a match between the combined efforts of W&J alumni and the Renegades against the Behrend B team at 3.
The action shifts to W&J campus Sunday for three events: a Masters scrimmage with W&J alumni and Renegades players at 9 a.m., Behrend against W&J at 10 and Behrend versus the W&J alumni and Renegades at noon.
The members of all four college squads come from all throughout the country, but there are several players from the Pittsburgh region who graduated from area high schools, so local talent in the pool Saturday and Sunday will not be limited to the Renegades.
North Allegheny fields both a boys and girls team that hosts a tournament each fall and also travels extensively for competition. The Tigers boys team finished fourth at last November’s Pennsylvania state championships, while the girls squad placed seventh.
Youth leagues and clubs also are available throughout the region.
Tuesday’s temperatures in the low 90s didn’t stop the Renegades from getting in a practice outside at the Highland Park Pool with members from the W&J squad.
Competition this weekend will have a special feeling as father and son will do battle in the pool. Greg Kinzler Sr. will play for the Renegades Masters team. Greg Jr. is a sophomore utility player at Behrend. The Kinzlers reside in Apollo.
In addition to the games on Saturday, mini clinics will be held throughout the day for all ages by water polo experts including the Renegade players.
The clinics hope to explain the game’s rules and share insights to put water polo into a new light for first-time observers or those hoping to become more familiar with the sport.
The pool will be open to the public for swimming in the shallow end and baby pool at 1 p.m.
Spectator admission to the games is free, but the regular daily rate for swimming will be in effect.
For more information about the Renegades water polo club and the weekend of competition, visit renegades.4rs.org.