Water Polo Wilson

PREVIEW: Wilson Girls’ Water Polo

The Bruins made history last year when they claimed the CIF-SS championship under first-year head coach Barry O’Dea. Even better for Wilson fans, the team didn’t graduate any starters from that historic squad, and they’ve spent some of the last 10 months enjoying the fruits of their title–trying on the new championship rings and waving to fans in the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade. But they’ve been working in the pool, as well.

“They’ve played a lot of polo since then,” said O’Dea. “We went to New Zealand over the summer for the Pan Pacifics, getting ourselves geared up for the school year.”

Wilson (6-4) has had a great preseason, which has helped illustrate how far the program has come. Last year the team lost to Los Alamitos by 19 goals, this year they lost by one goal. They also beat Division 1 power Newport Harbor.

“We’re not to where we want to be yet, we want to build to be playing our best at playoff time,” said O’Dea. “The girls are bought in and excited.”

Before the team gets to the playoffs, where they’ll compete in the new mega Division ½ hybrid, they have to take care of some regular season business first. While last year was the best in Wilson history, it was also frustrating for the Bruins and their fans because they lost the Moore League title to Poly. It was the first time the Jackrabbits had ever beaten the Bruins and only the second time Wilson didn’t win the league title.

Wilson returns their whole squad from last year, while Poly graduated some key offensive weapons–it’s likely going to be an emotional clash when the two teams play Wednesday evening.

“It’s one of their goals to get back and set the tone in the Moore League, and remind everybody what they are and who they are,” said O’Dea. “They want to put their stamp back on the league.”

Wilson is led by senior star Brooke Gruneisen, a UCLA commit who’s a part of a Bruins aquatics legacy, as well as Ava Bishop; both played big roles in last year’s championship. O’Dea has a great problem in goal where he has two studs, Camryn Kreuger, the starter on last year’s championship team, as well as freshman Zoe Seaboch, who already looks like a star even as a ninth grader.

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Mike Guardabascio
Mike Guardabascio
Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for a decade, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards and is the author of the books "Football in Long Beach" and "Basketball in Long Beach."
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