By James Lee. Los Angeles Times. Thursday, April 6, 2000
It's not exactly ping pong diplomacy, but Mt. San Antonio College water polo Coach Marc Ruh is hoping a group of local water polo players will gain some new knowledge from a trip to Cuba later this month.
Ruh and a group of 40 people, including more than 20 water polo players will go to Havana April 15 for a week of games against teams from around Central America. One men's team and one women's team will compete in the Marcelo Salado International Water Polo Tournament. The entourage is
awaiting final approval from the Treasury Department.
"I talked with the kids and said, 'This is not a political statement,' " Ruh said. "We're going over there to play water polo and learn a little bit about culture."
Still, the timing of the trip, which was coordinated through the mother of Mounties water polo player and Cuban-American Fred Sicard, ensures that the journey will have some political ramifications. Ruh, who visited Poland, Bulgaria and Romania with his parents growing up, has taken the
stance of knowing as little as possible about the controversy over Elian Gonzales.
"I'm trying to stay out of what's going on in Florida," Ruh said. "I'm trying to keep as much of an open mind as possible. I'm hoping it doesn't turn into a politicized event."
As for the competition, Ruh expects the men's team, made up of players from Mt. SAC, Citrus College and some high schools, to be competitive against the international teams. The women's team should have problems, Ruh said, simply because only nine women are making the trip.
THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS
The Citrus women's swimming team takes on Western State Conference leader Ventura in a tri-meet at Santa Monica College Friday. The Owls are 3-1 in conference.
Chaffey's baseball team outscored Barstow, 39-17, in a three-game series and looks to do the same thing against Foothill Conference doormat Victor Valley. The two teams tangle in Victorville today, with a return trip to Rancho Cucamonga Saturday. The Panthers have a shot at moving into
third place in conference, should Mt. San Jacinto lose to Cerro Coso twice this week.
The Panther softball team gets a busy weekend, hosting College of the Desert Friday before traveling north for the Santa Barbara City College Tournament.
Copyright 2000 Los Angeles Times