Bellevue’s Middlesworth looks to make a splash on U.S. Junior National team

While many students are busy this weekend celebrating the end of school for the year, Huston Middlesworth has one final exam he hopes to ace.

While many students are busy this weekend celebrating the end of school for the year, Huston Middlesworth has one final exam he hopes to ace.

Middlesworth, a junior at Bellevue High School, hopes to earn one of 13 spots on the USA Water Polo Men’s Junior National Team.

Middlesworth made the initial team on May 25 in Annapolis, Maryland - only 30 of 160 hopefuls were chosen - but now seeks to make the final 13 in order to travel with the team to the Junior Pan-American games later this year.

“I’ve been trying out for the National team for the past three years,” said Middlesworth, 17. “I didn’t make it last year for the cadet team so I tried out again this year and made it.”

The road to make the team of 30 is difficult enough; each player must make one of eight zoned teams across the U.S.

Each of those teams travel for a tournament (in Middlesworth’s case, the tournament was held at the Naval Academy), and the teams are pared down to 30.

“At the end of the tournament, they list off the names,” Middlesworth said. “I was kind of nervous that I wouldn’t make it. I played pretty well throughout the tournament, but I just wasn’t sure. Of course, I was like the second-to-last name to be called.”

This weekend, Middlesworth, who has played water polo for eight years, will be fighting for one of the 13 spots when the team travels to San Diego.

Middlesworth, who plays for the United Water Polo Club and Bellevue High School, said next year’s tryouts will not have the zoned teams, and prospective players will be picked by invitation only.

That merans making this years team is an important step for making the squad next year.

“Next year the team plays at the Junior Worlds, which is basically the Olympics for the younger age group,” he said. “I want to make the team so I can show them that next year I should be invited.”

Joel Willits can be reached at 425-453-4270 ext. 5060 or at jwillits@reporternewspapers.com.