After a two-year absence caused by COVID-19, the Long Beach Century Club’s Sports Night Banquet recently made its return in a packed house at the Grand. The club’s 65th awards banquet recognized the top high school and college athletes in the city, as well as many volunteers from the local sports world, and also crowned this year’s Athlete of the Year as well as inducted four new Hall of Famers.
“I’m happy to be able to welcome all of you to this year’s banquet and to be restarting this tradition,” said Century Club president Mike Fillipow.
This year’s Athlete of the Year and Coach of the Year were a paired duo, as Long Beach native Patrick Cantlay was awarded AOY and his coach, Jamie Mulligan, was also honored. Cantlay was the PGA’s Golfer of the Year and had his best season so far as one of the top golfers on the planet. Mulligan, who coaches out of Virginia Country Club, accepted on both of their behalf.
“I’m a Long Beach guy, Patrick and I both take a lot of pride in being from Long Beach and representing the city,” said Mulligan.
The Hall of Fame class was headlined by five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, a Long Beach Poly alum who recently retired after a decade-long NFL career. Casey delivered a heartfelt thank you to the Long Beach community and mentioned that he still had his plaques from when he was honored as a high school athlete. He also encouraged athletes to keep going.
“I honestly never loved football, but for me it was a vehicle to see the world and to help my family,” he said. “There were so many times when I was younger that I would call my mom and tell her I wanted to quit—and she kept me going, and I’m grateful that she did.”
Longtime Press-Telegram basketball writer and columnist Frank Burlison was honored, after a career that saw him inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame as well. Burlison, who remains an active scout and evaluator after his newspaper days ended, was a founding member of the McDonald’s All-American Game committee as well. He is just the second journalist to be inducted into the Century Club Hall of Fame, after longtime Press-Telegram editor Jim McCormack.
Burlison said it was meaningful for him to be honored in the city where he spent so much of his career and where his writing made such an impact.
Longtime LBCC basketball coach Gary Anderson was also inducted; Anderson was one of the best coaches in LBCC history and is the only player in state history to win a state title as a player, assistant, and head coach at one school. Anderson credited the coaches around him for helping him to make his reign with the Vikings so golden.
Inducted posthumously was Paralympian Angela Madsen, who was a world record-holding rower and three-time Paralympian, including winning a bronze medal.
The high school overall Athletes of the Year were Jade McDonald, Adonia Faumuina, and Laura Williams on the girls’ side, and Hank Rivers and Gray Carson on the boys’ side. The Club also recognized the top athletes in each sport. The High School Coach of the Year was Jordan’s Sharaud Moore, for leading the Panthers to a CIF-SS championship this year.
The Long Beach State Athletes of the Year were soccer player Kaitlin Fregulia and Alex Nikolov, and the LBCC Athletes of the Year were soccer players Allison Rose Veloz and Brian Chung.
The Club also recognized several local volunteers with its Citizen Awards, including longtime LBCC team physician Grant Uba (Bob and Nell Kariger Award), restaurateur and philanthropist Phil Trani (Keith Cordes Award), LBCC athletes Rachel Westphal and Kamau Neighbors (Harold Hofman Memorial Scholarships), Moore League secretary Lisa Ulmer (Frank Vessels Jr. Award), Raymond Graham (Philip Guardabascio Memorial Award), Matthew Schafer (De Jong Family Scholarship), Max Irving (Hank Hollingworth Award), Mark Halloran (Marie C. Gooch Past Presidents Award), Mary Aja (Ernie G. Pollman Award), and Special Olympians Cortnee Elizabeth Qualmann and Karsen Lawhorn.