PHOTO Left to Right: Caden Elsesser, Jocelyn Diaz, Zami Moscoso, Ryann Mayo, Jesus Nichol II, Aliya Mesihovich, Andrew Richards, Tyler Nettles, Jordan Weimer, Rachel Glenn, Amen Wilson, Maya Bryson, Armandon Bryson, Dionna Griffith, Seaver Cardoza, Naomi Kilson, Phillip Jefferson Jr., Ashanti Gaither, Collin Ellingboe
For all that’s been written over the years about the baseball and water polo programs at Wilson, the Bruins’ track program has been their most productive, championship-wise. The three state titles won by the Bruin girls from 1996-2006 represent half of the school’s state championships.
Neil Nelson, a Bruin alum, has been building his alma mater up year by year to where Wilson is once again a premier program statewide. This year is the most anticipated in a decade at Wilson, where the Bruins feature a legitimate multi-event star as well as several strong individuals and relays. The numbers are growing year by year as well, and Nelson has more than 250 kids in his program as well as a dozen assistants helping him run the show.
“Your organizational skills have to be great, but we don’t chase away any kids,” he said. “It takes a lot of them and it takes a lot of help.”
Nelson and assistant coach Shannon Fisher are rightfully excited about this season for Rachel Glenn, a junior who has a very bright future in the sport–in whatever event she wants to focus on.
Glenn won the state championship in the high jump last year as a sophomore and is the overwhelming favorite to win it again this year. But she also has the state’s top mark in the 400, and will be a key piece on WIlson’s relays as well.
“She’s a lot stronger this year, she’s just an all-around athlete,” said Nelson. “She could do anything, and there’s more to come. It’s just about deciding what won’t affect her high jump.”
Wilson’s 4×100 girls’ relay will feature Glenn, Dionna Griffith, Tyler Nettles, and Maya Bryson, and they’re expecting big things from Naomi Kilson this year as well.
On the boys’ side, Wilson’s 4×400 has been the most consistent in California over the last five years. This year an experienced group of Andrew Richards, Jordan Weimer, Armandon Bryson, and Seaver Cardoza has a very strong chance at the state title.
Thanks to the rising tide of Wilson’s cross country program, the Bruins distance runners are strong this year as well, with Moore League XC champion Aliya Mesihovich and Ryann Mayo leading the way on the girls’ side, and Caden Elsesser looking like a stud on the boys side.
The completeness of the team has Nelson and his assistants excited to bring a big group up to State, where he wants Wilson and Poly to show everyone that Long Beach is in the building.
“Everyone in Long Beach is walking around confident right now because we all know what we have,” he said. “For everybody who doesn’t know–watch out.”