Fenwick junior Payton Comstock is a top player on Windy City. (File Photo)

Whether it’s hosting invites, conference or sectional matches, the Fenwick High School boys and girls water polo programs regularly welcome opponents to the Dan O’Brien Aquatics Center.

This past weekend was no exception as the Friars hosted (along with Portage Park in Chicago) the American Water Polo National State Challenge event. Both Fenwick and Portage Park held approximately 32 games apiece at the tournament, which ran July 13-16.

Windy City Water Polo (a Fenwick-based program that includes players from other high schools) joined Athletico Physical Therapy and American Water Polo to bring the prestigious event to the Midwest.

The Windy City Water Polo boys team consists of players from primarily Fenwick, but also Oak Park and River Forest, Stagg, and St. Ignatius.

Fenwick players on Windy City include: Alejandro Perez, Manny Ruiz, Payton Comstock, Luis Murphy, Kyle Poland, Collin Hoag, Matt Hoban, Alex Figus, Nate Fisher, Chris Magyla, Dan Badja, Sal Rocha, and Johnny Wagner%u200B.

The Windy City girls team is exclusively Fenwick players: Molly McGuire, Kate Mackie, Harper Daniels, Tegwyn Hollenbach, Xonhane Meina, Kassy Rodriguez, Sam Rodriguez, Blaire West, Alyssa Sayatovic, and Isabel Smith.

Established in 2008, the tournament held over the weekend featured 18U men’s and women’s teams plus a 14U coed division. Considering the wealth of talent in the pool, multiple college water polo coaches and scouts attended the five-game tournament as well. The winners in each division were awarded $1,000.

“We are thrilled to have the tournament played at the Chicago Parks Portage Park Pool, an institution of outdoor water polo in this great city. Perennial water polo powerhouse Fenwick High School will host games in their all deep facility,” said Damon Newman, the Membership Director of American Water Polo Damon via a press release.

Prior to this year’s event, Upper Dublin, Pennsylvania hosted the American Water Polo National State Challenge three years.

On the boys’ side this year, Windy City finished fourth – the highest finish for the team in this event over the last six years. Windy City’s Comstock, Fisher and Poland played key roles in the team finishing with a 3-2 record in tournament play.

Windy City notched victories against Kingfish from Pennsylvania, Chicago Park District White, and St. Pius X from Georgia.

In the semifinals, Windy City lost 6-3 to eventual champion Vulture and 11-9 to Chicago Park District in the third-place game. Against Vulture, Poland scored a goal to tie the game at 3-3; however, Vulture responded with three straight goals in the third quarter to put the game away at 6-3 as both teams went scoreless in the fourth. Windy City’s Tommy Witek scored four goals and Kevin Obrecht added three goals in a losing cause against CPD.

Fenwick water polo player Ramses Flores played well for CPD.

Windy City girls earn 5th place

Like the Windy City Water Polo boys team, the girls also performed well at the tournament. McGuire scored a game-high six goals to power Windy City past Lyons 11-2 in the 18U fifth-place game at the 2017 National State Challenge. Daniels and Mackie contributed two goals apiece and Rodriguez scored once for Windy City.

Looking ahead, the Fenwick girls are preparing for a trip to California in July to compete in the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics.

On the boys side, Figus, Magyla, Hoban, Hoag, Murphy and Poland, along with a pair of St. Ignatius players and an OPRF player, will join Fenwick boys water polo coach Kyle Perry to take part in the Caribbean Water Polo Summer Classic towards the end of July.

Both the boys and girls teams will also compete at one more local tournament hosted by Stevenson High School before the summer is concluded.

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Marty Farmer

The Illinois Press Association recently honored Marty with the 1st & 2nd Place Awards for Best Sports Feature for his article He's in an Oak Park state of mind: Former OPRF star Iman Shumpert returns...