The Long Beach Century Club honored the city’s middle school sports champions for the 31st time last week, as the club’s All-City Team Sports Awards Banquet took place at the Grand. The event, which is unique in the state of California, was founded by Sam Breuklander and his wife, Sue, who was honored before last week’s festivities for her decades of work helping to put together the special tradition.
“The Century Club puts on a lot of great events, but nothing symbolizes who we are better than this one,” said club president Ben Goldberg. “You’ve got Olympians serving up hot dog dinners to middle school kids, it’s great.”
After the special recognition for Breuklander, the club distributed the Howard Lyon Sportsmanship Awards to Washington and Muir, and then recognized each of the All-City championship teams. Stanford and Muir won the Division 1 and 2 girls’ volleyball championships, with the Hawks claiming their third consecutive Division 1 title in the sport. Stanford and Nelson won the Division 1 and 2 football titles–that was the first time Nelson had won the championship, a theme of the evening.
Hughes and Lindsey were the girls’ basketball champions, with the Owls extending their city-record streak to 10 consecutive championships in the sport. It was the first girls’ basketball title for Lindsey in Division 2. Hughes and Lindbergh won the boys’ basketball titles.
Hughes won the girls’ track championship, the 17th time they’ve done so and sixth in a row. Nelson won the Division 2 girls’ track championship for the first time ever. Keller and Nelson won the boys’ track championships.
In girls’ soccer, it was Hughes and Newcomb who rolled to the championships, while Washington and Franklin won the boys’ soccer titles.
After the title teams were honored, with each athlete receiving a plaque, the championship programs were recognized, with the highest-achieving schools getting an award. The Bancroft and Nelson boys’ programs got the Division 1 and 2 All-Sports Awards, while Hughes won the Division 1 girls’ award and Lindsey and Nelson split the Division 2 girls’ award. Not surprisingly, Hughes and Nelson won the overall Division 1 and 2 All-Sports Awards, eliciting huge cheers from the crowd.
It was a tale of two teams. In Division 1, Hughes was winning its second consecutive title and 14th overall in the 31 years it’s been awarded. For Nelson, two of their three championship teams won for the first time and it was their first-ever All-Sports Award as well. All three championship teams were coached by Earl McCullouch Jr., the son of the legendary Poly and Lions football player, who was in attendance last week.
“We worked hard all year to try and do something special for these kids, and it paid off,” said McCullouch Jr.