We’re counting down the top moments for Long Beach prep sports in 2018-19.
10. Lakewood Hires Scott Meyer
The Moore League football landscape has been shaped by so many coaches coming and going, and for the first time in awhile, the league is getting a quality on-campus coach back again. In December, Lakewood hired Scott Meyer as its football coach, and as a teacher, hoping to bring the luster back to a proud program that’s fallen on hard times.
Meyer is coming from University High, Servite, Corona del Mar, and Jordan. Most notably for local fans, Meyer coached Jordan into relevance with the likes of future NFL player John Timu on his team. His combination of coaching skill and ability to keep North Long Beach players at their local school has made him an attractive target for Long Beach schools.
“It’s not the same Lakewood as it was 10 years ago, but I think there’s a ton of potential there,” he said. “I want to make a great connection with the Pop Warner program and I’m excited about the new track and football stadium that are coming.” SEE MORE
9. Ram-Hi Roars Again
After Millikan fired longtime beloved Rams coach Kirk Diego, the MIllikan football program fell on hard times. After going 14-36 from 2012 to 2016, the Rams made it to the CIF-SS quarterfinals in 2017, a feat that they repeated again this year, going 8-3 and once again taking second in the Moore League. With the Rams hosting playoff games in back-to-back years, it was the most successful two year period stretch the school has had since the 1980s. There will be a new face trying to keep that momentum going, however, as Millikan hired Romeo Pellum to replace departed head coach Justin Utupo. SEE MORE
8. Wilson Softball Playoff Walkoff
The most exciting playoff win of the spring came last month when Wilson softball came back to Joe Rodgers for its first quarterfinals at home in more than a decade. The Bruins battled Troy with the sophomore battery of pitcher Hailey Houston and catcher Natalya Rodriguez, who call their own pitches. Houston went the distance while giving up four hits, two walks and two hit by pitch. Rodriguez came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, and looped a game-winning single into center field that scored sophomore Sydney Freijanes, and set off the celebration. SEE MORE
7. Millikan Girls’ Soccer
None of the players on the Millikan girls’ soccer team were alive the last time the Rams won the Moore League championship, a shared title in 1991. In fact, the last time they won the league title by themselves, head coach Tino Nunez was just a baby in 1985. That all changed in February when Nunez led the Rams to the league title. Millikan went on to win its first-ever CIF-SS Division 1 playoff game thanks to an improbable performance from goalkeeper Isabella Meyer in a penalty kick shootout. The sophomore had never participated in a PK before, but got the chance and made it count by stopping the first three shots she faced. SEE MORE
6. Wilson Girls Win, Win Some Moore
It was a great year for Wilson girls’ runners, as both the Bruins girls’ cross country team and the girls’ track and field team won Moore League championships this year. Per Moore League records it was the cross country team’s first league title since 2004 and the track team’s first league title since 2008. Both teams have the bulk of their talent returning next season so the Bruin reign could well continue into 2019-20. SEE MORE
5. St. Anthony Volleyball
It was another great year for St. Anthony volleyball under head girls’ and boys’ coach Alicia Lemau’u, who took the Saints to historic heights in the fall and the spring. The girls’ volleyball team was able to make it to the CIF-SS semifinals, something they’d done before under Lemau’u, having won a CIF championship three years ago. In the spring, the boys’ team made it to the semifinals as well, the first time they’d ever done so. Led by All-American Aidan Grosz, the Saints hung another league title banner and proved they can compete at the CIF level as well. SEE MORE
4. Wilson/Poly Swimming History
Multiple records were broken and reset during the Moore League swimming finals hosted at Cabrillo High in April. On the boys’ side, Wilson had phenomenal performances from both under and upperclassmen alike to win its California record 47th consecutive league championship. Wilson freshman Hank Rivers was one of a few Bruins to break a record, as he beat Rick Westberg’s 1995 time in the 50 Freestyle with a 21.04. On the girls’ side, it all came down to the final race of the night as the Poly 400 Freestyle Relay of junior Josie Liebzeit, sophomore Georgia Buffington, sophomore Allison Knapp and freshman Trinity Salcedo took first to help Poly edge Wilson 527-492. Poly is the first team other than Wilson to four-peat in the Moore League. The last non-Wilson team to three-peat was Lakewood in 1983-85. SEE MORE
3. Long Beach Divers
Four local divers from Millikan and Poly finished in the top eight at the CIF Southern Section diving championship in May. Millikan junior Jenna Sonnenberg won her second championship by setting a new CIF-SS Division 2 scoring record with a point total of 596.70 for her 11 dives. Sonnenberg won the chamionship last year with a score of 514.30.
As for the other divers, Long Beach Poly’s Sydney Wren, Millikan’s Taylor Schwarz, and Poly’s Emma Robinett finished in sixth, seventh, and eighth place. SEE MORE
2. Long Beach Runs the Track World
It was another golden spring for the Long Beach track and field world, with another big helping of team and individual championships coming to the city. Long Beach Poly and Wilson led the way, as expected, with the Trackrabbits winning the boys’ CIF-SS Division 1 team championship and the girls’ runner up.
Wilson had the city’s only individual state championship in golden girl Rachel Glenn, who capped a successful season with a 300 hurdles state title, the second individual gold of her high school career. St. Anthony, Millikan, and Lakewood got involved as well, and all five schools had athletes compete at the CIF State Meet, where Rams freshman Samarra Monrroy and Lakewood and St. Anthony sophomores Cherish Washington and Asjah Atkinson all proved that the future is bright. In all, Long Beach won 10 gold medals at the CIF-SS Finals and had 15 podium finishes at the CIF State Meet. SEE MORE
1. Cabrillo Jaguars Making History
This has been by far the best sports year at Cabrillo High as the Jaguars have been able to make school history in boys’ soccer, boys’ water polo and badminton over the last eight months.
In March, the boys’ soccer team ended the 25-year drought by winning the school’s first-ever postseason championship. They did it in style and with class, besting Westview from San Diego 6-2 to claim the CIF State Division II championship, and outscoring their opponents 17-2 in the state tournament.
In November, the boys’ water polo program made school history by reaching the first CIF-SS semifinal ever, and Cory Thompson and Angel Ortiz added to the legend of this season by becoming the first players to earn All-CIF awards.
In April, the badminton team clinched its second consecutive Moore League championship to become the first team in school history to win back-to-back league titles. This is Cabrillo’s fourth-ever league title, and the boys’ soccer team has the other two. SEE MORE