Long Beach State Olympics Wilson

Long Beach Olympic Picture Taking Shape

With two weeks to go until the July 23 Opening Ceremony for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the Long Beach Olympic picture is coming into focus. While it doesn’t look like this year’s local crop of athletes will be as big as in some previous Games, it’s still a good-sized and diverse group. As always, Olympic powerhouse Wilson High will be well-represented at this year’s Games, with two Olympians as well as another currently positioned as an alternate.

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Leading the way is Wilson alum Riley Gibbs, one of the world’s brightest young sailors, and the skipper of a two-man boat with partner Anna Weis. The duo qualified for the Olympics last Summer and retained their qualification status for the rescheduled Games this year.

Gibbs and Weis won gold at the 2019 Pan-American Games and the 2020 Oceania Championships and are hoping for a big finish in Tokyo this Summer.


The Long Beach State men’s volleyball team will be well represented in Tokyo, as two-time National Player of the Year TJ DeFalco and All-American Kyle Ensing were both named to the USA indoor men’s Olympic roster. The USA is ranked No. 3 in the world and is expected to be one of the top gold medal contenders this Summer. LBSU National Player of the Year Josh Tuaniga is an alternate, as is LBSU/Wilson alum Dustin Watten.

The Beach will also be represented on the beach, as LBSU National Player of the Year Taylor Crabb will join Jake Gibb as one of the two USA men’s beach teams to travel to Japan. The entire USA Beach program is also under the direction of LBSU alum Tyler Hildebrand, a former LBSU assistant coach who’s now coaching at Nebraska. Hildebrand is the USA Beach National Team Director of Coaching.

Water Polo

There are two Long Beach players headed to Tokyo with the Olympic men’s water polo team: Wilson alum Max Irving, as well as Long Beach native Hannes Daube (who attended high school at Orange Lutheran). Long Beach State coach Gavin Arroyo is an assistant coach on the team.

On the women’s side, there aren’t any Long Beach natives on the team, although the area will be represented by Seal Beach’s Rachel Fattal (who attended Los Alamitos High), and the city is represented in the coaching ranks by assistant coach Chris Oeding, the head water polo coach at LBCC.

Baseball & Softball

While there won’t be any local players on the USA baseball or softball teams, a trio of Long Beach State products will compete for Mexico on the diamond in Tokyo. Softball’s Suzy Brookshire as well as Dirtbag products Danny Espinosa and Jonny Jones will be making the trip.

Track & Field

The recently-concluded USA Track & Field Olympic Trials didn’t produce any Long Beach Olympians, but there were several local athletes competing as well as a qualifier with some local ties. Wilson alum Rachel Glenn put the country on notice this year when she won the NCAA championship in the high jump as a true freshman, and she had a great showing at the USA Trials last week as well.

Glenn made the finals in the high jump, and finished sixth with a jump of 6-1.5, just three spots out of qualifying for the Olympics.

Long Beach State’s Jason Smith finished ninth in the high jump with a leap of 7-1, and heptathlete Riley Cooks had to drop out due to an injury. 

Clayton Murphy is not from Long Beach–he’s from Ohio, but he did recently marry Long Beach Poly product and Olympian Ariana Washington. Murphy was also one of the last athletes to work out on Poly’s historic track before it was closed to put in the new all-weather facility that’s there now, having held a workout on the dirt track the last day it was open. Murphy won the 800 at the USA Trials with the best time in the world so far this year.


Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.