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High school water polo: West boys win title, girls place fourth

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The West Albany High boys water polo team defeated top-seeded Hood River 11-6 on Saturday to win the 5A state championship. The match was played at Osborn Aquatic Center in Corvallis.

Goalkeepers Nash Bending (seven saves) and Caleb Smith (four saves) led the defensive effort. Jordan Stadstad and Conner Dickerson each scored three goals. Caleb Smith scored two goals and Luke Hayes, Nash Bending and Jack Ames each scored goals. 

Bending was selected first-team all-state and MVP. Dickerson, Stadstad and Trenton Worden were also selected first-team all-state. Smith was selected to the second team and Hayes received honorable mention. 

On their road to becoming state champions, the Bulldogs went 21-6 overall, 14-0 in 5A games and were 6-0 in league play.  

The West Albany girls lost to Hillsboro, 7-6, in the third-place match Saturday.

The defensive game was tied at 5-all going into the fourth quarter. 

Hailey Wadlington had four steals and six saves in the goal. First-year players Maija Ylen and Szammy Kitchen each scored two goals and Avery Romey and Irelynn Randall each scored a goal. 

With the loss, the Bulldogs placed fourth overall. Coaches Rob Nelke and Bailey Dickerson were pleased with this achievement by a squad that had only one returning player with playoff experience.

Romey and Randall were selected as second-team all-state and Wadlington received honorable mention. The team went 8-10 overall, 5-3 in 5A games and 2-1 in league play.  

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