December 2013 (1) Candygrams

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013---More Heritage Hall Medallions and a Friend, Too!

Pat and Dudley Poon, my husband Jim, and I have been very busy contacting and delivering Heritage Hall Medallions to famous USC Athletes. We are fortunate to have some fellow Trojans and friends help us to deliver some of these Medallions.

Michael TobianOn Thanksgiving weekend Jim and I hand carried four Medallions on our plane ride to northern California. The T.S.A. worker who examined our carry-on was quite impressed that the athletes were First Team All-Americans or Olympic Gold Medalists. We gave two Medallions to my Trojan daughter Steffany's father-in law, Dr. John Lee, to deliver to Gary Tobian and John Vella. John has delivered one Medallion to Gary Tobian's son, Michael. Gary was a Gold Medal winner in Diving in the 1960 Olympics. FIGHT ON, Gary!

Scott NewcombScott Newcomb sent his picture and a short story about himself to Trojan Candy. Scott was a First-Team All-American in Water Polo in 1972-1973. FIGHT ON, Scott! A little about Scott, then and now.

"My time at USC was a great experience for the education and athletics. I was in a fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, where most of the swimmers and water polo players were involved. We had fun times and it was great to be around most of my teammates. I fortunately came from a unbelievable high school water polo/swimming program at CDM High School in Orange County. That allowed me to obtain a scholarship to USC for water polo. Our team was challenged until my senior year in 1973.

Just before the start of my senior year, I was selected for the World Games team that was in Moscow, Russia, that August. We had a great experience and were able to win a bronze medal over Hungary. Fortunately, I scored the final goal with a few seconds left in the game to earn the bronze. Great experience.

My teammates for my senior year included two seniors: our goalie Curt Caldwell and me. We started off horribly and lost to everyone. I assisted Coach John Williams in helping to coach the team and became captain. We began winning games the second half of the season. Then the NCAA's arrived; we played UCLA for 3rd place and won. It was the best USC had done for 5 or so years prior and 5 or so years after I graduated. This earned me First Team All American honors for both 1972 and 1973 seasons.

Then it was time to work on business opportunities. I have been primarily involved with the real estate business in numerous aspects since graduation. We live in Irvine, CA, and I am married to the best wife in the world. We have 3 children whom we love completely."

The next three pictures were taken by Dudley when he and Pat delivered three medallions out in the valley.

Mark Crear
Mark Crear was a First Team All-American in Track in 1992. FIGHT ON, Mark!
Edesel Garrison
Edesel Garrison was at Cal State Northridge where he works out. Edesel was, like Mark, a First-Team All-American in Track in 1971-1972. FIGHT ON, Edesel!
Nettie Wikler
This is Nettie Wikler, the widow of George Wikler. George was a First Team All-American in Gymnastics in 1955. FIGHT ON, George!

Thanks for taking the pictures, Dudley!

Rod BoxbergerTrojan alumna and friend, Jenny Anderson took this picture of Rod Boxberger with his Medallion. He was a First-Team All American in baseball in 1978. FIGHT ON, Rod! Thanks for taking the picture, Jenny!

Sheryl Saari, the widow of Roy Saari, will send her picture with Roy's two Medallions. Roy was a USC First Team All-American in Water Polo in 1964-1966. He won the Gold Medal in swimming in the 1964 Olympics. FIGHT ON, Roy! FIGHT ON, Sheryl! Sheryl wrote the following about Roy.

"Roy Saari was one of USC's premiere Swimmers and Water Polo players in the 1960's. Peter Daland was his coach, and I am still friends with him and his wife, Ingrid. Roy won a gold and a silver medal at the '64 Olympics in Tokyo. He would have competed in Water Polo there, too, but the rules said athletes could compete in only one sport! His Dad, Urho Saari, was the USA Water Polo coach in '64 and his younger brother, Bob, made the team! Probably not many Trojans have competed in more than one sport. Luckily, NCAA rules allowed him to do both."

Judy McKeeverThe last three pictures were taken by Trojan Candy. Jim and I met Judy McKeever at the Football Alumni tailgate before the USC-ucla game on November 30th. She graciously accepted her husband Marlin's medallion and her brother-in-law, and Marlin's twin, Mike McKeever's medallion also. Both McKeever twins were First-Team All Americans on the 1959-1960 USC Football Team. Thanks, Judy! FIGHT ON, Marlin! FIGHT ON, Mike.

Cecil MamiitThe second picture was of 1996 USC All-American in Tennis, Cecil Mamiit. Jim and I met him at the Cardinal and Gold Pre-game picnic for the Tennis alumni honorees. FIGHT ON, Cecil!

Eileen Chuang and Ali RamosAnother USC Tennis alumna honoree was friend Alison Ramos (11/20/2009). Ali played on the Women of Troy Tennis Team in 2009-2012. She posed with her friend and fellow Trojan, Eileen Chuang. Eileen is in the class of 2012 with Ali. So nice to visit with Ali. FIGHT ON, Eileen! FIGHT On, Ali!

Sunday, December 8, 2013---USC vs. UOP NCAA Water Polo Finals

SpectatorsNCAA MWP finalsSame time. Same location. It's still 40 degrees.

Trojan Candy is in the house!

Jim and I arrived again at noon at the Stanford Avery Aquatic Stadium for the NCAA Men's Water Polo Championship. We came to see Stanford and St. Francis of Brooklyn compete for 3rd Place in the 1:00 pm game. Stanford over-powered St. Francis 17-2. After the first game ended, the onslaught of UOP fans and students began. Seven-eighths of the stadium was filled with UOP boosters while USC fans barely filled the remaining one-eighth. Do you see the Trojans? Kane, Gen, George, Zane, and Kelly My older daughter Kelly, her husband Gen (who are both Harvard grads), Gen's dad George, and sons Zane and Kane came to the game at 2:30 p.m. My seven year old grandson Zane told Trojan Candy that he wants to go to USC to play water polo. Zane is an excellent swimmer who is already competing in swim competitions and swims in the ocean. An honorary FIGHT ON, Zane!

Spirit of TroyThe Spirit of Troy and three Song Girls performed on the same platform as yesterday. However, today, some UOP students held their banner backwards in front of our song girls while they performed. Then, every time our band played, the UOP students held their thumbs upside down in rhythm with our music. They were mocking us while enjoying our music!

Before the introductions of the teams, there was a moment of silence for Nelson Mandela.

USC team was ready
Then, our Trojans joined hands before jumping in the pool.
Ready for sprint
Let the championship game begin!
We scored the first goal!
We scored the first goal in the first two minutes.

Throughout the game, UOP seemed to be rewarded with more 6 on 5 power plays than our Trojans and with an edge of 4-2 in penalty shots. That enabled Pacific to lead by two goals several times during the match. However, our Men of Troy fought back, back, back and back!

Tied 7-7
We tied the score 7-7 with this shot at the 3:15 mark in the third quarter.
Rex Butler scores
UOP scored the next two goals to go ahead 9-7. At the 4:17 mark in the fourth quarter, Rex Butler closed their lead to 9-8 with this goal.
Nikola Vavic scores
Pacific's Balazs Erdely scored another goal to increase their lead to 10-8. Then, at the 3:14 mark in the fourth quarter, Nikola Vavic closed their lead to 10-9 with this shot on a power play.
Ivan Kustic ties it!
What a back and forth catch up game! At 2:46 in the fourth quarter our Trojans tied the score at 10-10 with this shot by Ivan Kustic.

Trojan Candy's heart was really beating now! Then, we scored our 11th goal at the 2:00 mark. Is this it?

But, with 29 seconds left, our Trojans let UOP tie the game up 11-11 on another power play.

Into overtime!

Neither team scored in the first overtime.

Coach Vavic mapped out our strategy.
Nikola Vavic is ready to fire away
Then, Trojan Candy took this picture of Nikola Vavic (top right) as he was about to shoot the go-ahead and winning goal!
We're ahead!
Our Men of Troy won 12-11! SIX NCAA Championships in a row!
Our team jumped into the pool to celebrate!

Watch the closing seconds of the match and the ensuing celebration IN THIS YOUTUBE VIDEO. Yes, that is Trojan Candy yelling, "Go SC!"

Championship photo
The team championship photo was taken by my friend Dan Avila.
Joyous Trojan fans
Then our team walked by joyous Trojans.
And the Spirit of Troy played a final Conquest!

FIGHT ON, USC Men's Water Polo Team!

Saturday, December 7, 2013---USC Men's Water Polo versus St. Francis Brooklyn

On Tuesday, December 3, Trojan Candy flew up to San Francisco to help my Trojan daughter Steffany with her two sons, Parker and Bowman. A four year old and a six month old can keep a mother really busy! My husband Jim drove up on Friday to join us.

It just so happened that our Men's Water Polo Team had won the MPSF the previous weekend and earned an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament at Stanford. We came in as the top seed. How lucky that Trojan Candy was able to attend the NCAA Tournament!

Amy Pittorino, Elise Holden, and Ellen PittorinoMy husband Jim and I arrived at the Avery Aquatic Center on the Stanford campus at noon for the 1:00 p.m. game. I wanted to get the perfect seat for taking pictures. As we waited in line for the doors to open, we met three Australian water polo athletes (Amy Pittorino, Elise Holden, and Ellen Pittorino) from Sydney. They know USC Senior Water Polo player, and fellow Australian, Mace Rapsey (4/8/2011). Trojan Candy interviewed Mace when he was a Freshman. FIGHT ON, Mace!

USC Pep Band and three Song GirlsWe sat up high in the mid-court...a perfect location to take pictures. But we were in the shade. Brrrr! Then, we saw the USC Pep Band and three Song Girls walk in the stadium and set up on the sunny side on a platform to my right. The sight of my fellow Trojans warmed up my heart!

Bowman, Zac, Parker, and SteffanyAt 12:30 p.m., Bowman, Zac, Parker, and Steffany arrived for the game. The USC Pep Band played while the teams warmed up. Watching the Song Girls dance, my four year old grandson Parker pointed at them and told us that he liked the girls in the white sweaters! Boys will be boys!

Now, it was game time.

USC team was ready
Our team was ready to jump in.
Our offense scored first.
USC huddle
During the game, the two teams huddled for strategy. Here's USC.
St. Francis huddle
And here's St. Francis.

Trojan Candy was told that the pool was a warm 80 degrees, but pool side was in the 40's!

During the game, I asked my son-in-law Zac many questions. Why? Zac was an All-American water polo athlete at MIT. He still plays water polo twice a week with friends who played at Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC. What an excellent resource! An honorary, FIGHT ON, Zac!

My perfect location allowed me to photograph, with a bit of luck and timing, several of USC's goals.

Rex Butler scored
Rex Butler scored our seventh goal to make it 7-1!
Rex Butler scored
Rex Butler netted a midrange goal to make it 9-2!
We won 10-3!
We won 10-3. USC is in the finals of the NCAA Men's Water Polo Tournament tomorrow!