After a difficult year and a half, the Long Beach Century Club is still doing what it does best–supporting the city’s youth athletes. The COVID-19 pandemic required the club to drop its weekly in-person meetings on Tuesday nights, and to cancel its annual Hall of Fame and Middle School All-City banquets. A few weeks ago, incoming president Mike Fillipow took the gavel from outgoing president Keith Polmanteer as the club resumed in-person meetings Tuesday evenings at the Boathouse on the Bay.
Last week, the Club honored a historic season for the Moore League, which saw six teams win CIF Southern Section championships: two each from Long Beach Poly, Wilson, and Millikan. With coaches and athletes from the six teams on hand, Fillipow presented each team with a $500 donation to assist with the purchasing of championship rings.
“Everyone has been through a lot this year, and we want to do what we can to help support these teams that were able to win during under the hardest circumstances,” said Fillipow.
Poly girls’ basketball coach Carl Buggs was on hand along with his only returning starter from this year’s championship team, Nala Williams, who will have a heavy load on her shoulders heading into her senior season. Buggs has already been inducted into the Club’s Hall of Fame, and shared the story of his team’s journey with the Club.
“We never even thought we’d have a season, let alone win a CIF championship,” he said.
Poly’s Jade McDonald was also on hand to represent the school’s girls’ track and field championship team; McDonald is set to head to Iowa for college soon.
From Wilson, boys’ volleyball coach Jeremy Cook was on hand with athletes Leo Pravednikov and Payne Lounsbery. That’s an impressive duo–Pravednikov, a junior, was the Moore League Player of the Year while Lounsbery, a senior, was the CIF-SS Player of the Year for his efforts helping to lead the Bruins to a historic championship.
Wilson coaches CJ Brewer and Bobby Hauck represented the Bruins’ boys’ track and field CIF-SS champion team.
From Millikan, boys’ tennis coach Tori Frapwell was on hand with a pair of athletes, as was Millikan baseball coach Ron Keester, who had recent Long Beach State commit Myles Patton to speak, alongside senior Cameron Sims. It was fitting two have two pitchers since the Rams gave up just two runs in their five CIF-SS playoff games en route to winning the championship.
It’s been several years since the Moore League brought home six CIF-SS titles. Doing so during this bizarre and challenging year warranted the donation from the Club; Fillipow also pointed out that several of the teams (Poly girls’ basketball, Wilson boys’ volleyball, Millikan boys’ tennis, and Millikan baseball) also got to win their CIF-SS championships on their home court or field, which has never happened before.