BeFunky-collage copy 3
All City

The562.Org’s All-City Athletes Of The Year 2022-23

We’re thrilled to be in our 10th year of presenting the Grunion Sports and’s All-City Awards, a revival of a beloved city tradition. This week we’ll be presenting our individual All-City Athletes of the Year awards to the top performers in each sport, then next week we’ll name our top boy and girl athlete of the year, as well as begin announcing other awards including Top Moments, Coach of the Year, Game of the Year and more.

Support The562’s Year-End Fundraiser!, organized by Mike Guardabascio

Another school year in the books! The 2022-23 sports season was one to rememb… Mike Guardabascio needs your support for Support The562’s Year-End Fundraiser!

Football: Daylen Austin, Long Beach Poly 

Long Beach Poly senior Daylen Austin joined the ranks of the Jackrabbits’ proud history this year, earning All-American honors at the defensive back position as well as Moore League Player of the Year honors. Austin had a standout season on the defensive side of the ball where he was a lockdown corner among the best in the nation, earning scholarship offers from schools across the country before ultimately signing with the University of Oregon. Austin was one of the best athletes in the city in any sport, and was also a kick and punt returner for the Jackrabbits this season.

Girls’ Volleyball: Fatima Hall, Lakewood 

Lakewood senior Fatima Hall proved herself the best setter and player in the city this year, earning co-Moore League Player of the Year honors with teammate Samarah DaCoud. Hall was the mastermind of the best offense in the city, effortlessly setting up DaCoud as well as the Lancers’ other hitters. She earned a scholarship to San Diego State for her efforts as well as All-CIF honors in the CIF-SS Division 1 bracket, the toughest playoff tournament in the country.

Boys’ Cross Country: Jason Parra, Millikan/Cameron Rhone, Long Beach Poly

The boys’ cross country season was about as entertaining as you could hope for this year, with both Parra and Rhone earning memorable wins. Rhone came from behind for a thrilling (and bumpy) victory at El Dorado, then dodged lightning strikes for another win at Signal Hill. Ultimately, Parra took home the Moore League title at Heartwell, earning that honor for the third consecutive year. Both runners were better for the competition between them, and each deserve recognition as the city’s best.

Girls’ Cross Country: Avery Peck, Long Beach Poly

Before she ran a single Moore League cross country race, word was out on Poly’s superstar freshman. Peck broke Poly’s school record in the 5K before the league season got underway, then she promptly swept all the varsity races in 2022. She won the league opener at El Dorado by more than a minute, then claimed the Moore League individual title more than a month later at Heartwell, securing her spot as the fastest girls’ distance runner in Long Beach.

Girls Golf: Allison Sor, Wilson

The Wilson golf program has dominated the Moore League over the last decade and senior Alyson Sor added to that lore in October when she won her third league Individual championship and advanced to the CIF State Championship.

At Recreation Park Golf Course in the final round of the league tournament, Sor shot a 135 over 36 holes to tie the league record for low finish with Wilson great Ali Morallos. Sor, Morallos (2014-16) and Wilson’s Jennifer Tangtiphaiboontana (2000-02) are the only golfers in league history to win three individual titles.

“I felt really loved in the moment,” Sor said after birdieing the final hole of the tournament. “I’m really thankful for all of the support I’ve had. I had a couple of rough weeks during the season to try and break records. A lot of people told me I was good enough and that I could do it.”

Girls Tennis: Vanessa Holden, Wilson

Wilson sophomore Vanessa Holden had unfinished business and handled it by winning the Moore League girls’ tennis singles championship at Billie Jean King Courts. She reached the final as a freshman and lost, but in October she was able to take the title by beating Wilson teammate Vivian Hall 7-5, 6-1.

“I feel really confident about myself now,” Holden said. “I feel like I can play without the thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to mess this up.’”

Wilson completed the Moore League Finals sweep as Holden and Irit Paiement defeated Millikan’s Adora Vinhee and Maya Cummings for the doubles championship.

Boys Water Polo: Sean Tunnicliff, Wilson

There is no doubt that Sean Tunnicliff was the leader of the Wilson boys’ water polo team. The senior embodied the classic Bruins style of strong defense and fast offense that delivered them their 15th consecutive Moore League title this season.

“I think a lot of people see Sean shoot and they think that he’s kind of a one diminutional player but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Wilson coach Zach Polmanteer said of Tunnicliff. “He’s our director of defense and the reason he is open on the offensive end is because the team sets him up. They listen to him because he’s such a good leader defensively.”

Boys’ Basketball: Franklyn Chambers, Jordan

It was a dream season in North Long Beach and Chambers was right in the middle of it. After leaving Dominguez High to play at Jordan for his senior season, he immediately became an emotional leader in J-Town. Chambers’ ability to take over a game proved invaluable throughout the season, earning him Moore League Player of the Year honors. When the playoffs hit, it was more of the same for Chambers, who led the Panthers to a CIF title while earning CIF Co-Player of the Year honors in Division 4AA.

Girls’ Basketball: Cristina Jones, Lakewood

Lakewood girls’ basketball had its most successful season in recent memory this past year, and Jones was a huge part of it. The Lancers went 25-5 with a 10-2 record in Moore League play, at one point winning 16 straight games. Jones was an active presence all over the court, winning the league’s Player of the Year honors. The junior averaged 16.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 5.8 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game, and was a matchup nightmare for opposing teams along with top running mate Nyemah King.

Girls Soccer: Olivia Herrera, Wilson

More than a few Moore League girls’ soccer coaches and players said of Wilson goalkeeper Olivia Herrera, “She keeps her team in the game,” and that kind of skill and leadership earned her league Goalkeeper Of The Year two consecutive years.

“You have to make sure you’re sharp to the last minute because you never know,” Herrera said after a dramatic win over Long Beach Poly this year. “It’s about having a good support system around you. If I’m nervous it’s going to make the whole team nervous. Having good leadership and supporting each other is a good way to get rid of the nerves.”

Herrera also spent time with the Mexican Youth National Team and is headed to Arizona State University.

Boys Soccer: Amir Diaz, Poly / Issac Machuca, Millikan

This Moore League boys’ soccer season was full of fantastic defense and that is reflected by Long Beach Poly goalkeeper Amir Diaz Espinoza and Millikan defender Issac Machuca earning top honors after phenomenal senior campaigns.

In February, Diaz Espinoza had a week to remember, winning a pair of penalty kick playoff tiebreakers for his team (with three total saves) to help the Jackrabbits advance to this weekend’s CIF-SS championship for the first time since 1999.

Machuca led the Millikan back line and helped the Rams win their first Moore League title since 2018.

Girls Water Polo: Maya O’Dea, Wilson

Not only was Maya O’Dea the best player in the pool for Wilson girls’ water polo while leading the Bruins back to a CIF championship game for the first time in 2008, she also competed internationally with the USA Youth National Team.

“She’s not flashy,” said her dad and coach Barry O’Dea. “She establishes herself but she doesn’t make it all about her because she loves her teammates.”

“I encouraged my teammates to not overthink it,,” Maya said. “We know how to play together and we know what we’re going to do. We come in, play loose and go for it.”

Boys’ Wrestling: Gavin Laverde, Millikan 

Gavin Laverde made history this year for the historically-dominant Millikan boys’ wrestling program. Laverde became just the second wrestler in Moore League history to win his weight class–126 lbs–four consecutive years. Laverde was one of eight Millikan wrestlers to win individual titles at Moore League finals this year, as the Rams claimed more than half of the 14 weight class titles. Laverde went on to finish fourth at CIF-SS Finals, tied with teammate Alister Castillo for best finish among all the Moore League boys.

Girls’ Wrestling: Athziri Guzar, Long Beach Poly 

Long Beach Poly senior Athziri Guizar had the best season of any wrestler in Long Beach. She won another Moore League title and then moved onto postseason wrestling, where she claimed the CIF Southern Section championship in the 106 lb weight class of the CIF-SS Individuals. She then competed at CIF-SS Masters where she took third place in her weight class, earning a berth to a Nationals Tournament in Virginia.

Baseball: Lucas Scott, Long Beach Poly 

The Long Beach Poly baseball team had a historic year, claiming the first undefeated Moore League championship by any team since 1997, and first at Poly since at least 1968. The Jackrabbits were led all year by senior and UC Irvine signee Lucas Scott, their starting shortstop and ace pitcher. Scott hit .356 and also had a 4-1 record on the mound with a 0.71 ERA in 13 appearances.

Softball: Katie Knarr, Millikan / Tiare Ho-Ching, Poly

This Moore League softball season had plenty of fantastic individual efforts, and the two players who probably had the most of them were Millikan’s Katie Knarr and Long Beach Poly’s Tiare Ho-Ching.

Knarr hit .403 this season with 20 RBI, 23 runs scored, eight doubles and four home runs while helping Millikan win its third consecutive league title.

Ho-Ching proved why she’s one of the best infielders in the country with highlight plays everywhere, and she had a flair for the dramatic. In the CIF playoffs, Ho-Ching and her sister Kiele delivered the game-winning hits to give the Jackrabbits their first two-win postseason ever.

Boys’ Track & Field: Jordan Washington, Jordan / Xai Ricks, Long Beach Poly 

It was an exceptionally good year for track and field in Long Beach once again, with too many national talents to pick from. Our choices are the two highest national profiles: Jordan sprinter Jordan Washington and Poly middle-distance star Xai Ricks.

Washington is one of the fastest sprinters in Long Beach history and this year made it to a second-place finish in the state meet behind the record-setting Rodrick Pleasant. He’s also a standout football player committed to Arizona.

Ricks is one of the best in the nation in the 400 and 800, and will run both events at New Balance Nationals. Ricks took second in the 400 at the state meet and had the best mark in the state in that event this year, but did not run it in the postseason as he focused on other events.

Girls’ Track & Field: Aujane Lucky, Wilson 

Wilson senior Aujane Luckey was arguably the best female athlete in the city this year, a national-profile competitor in multiple events despite being injured or ill for chunks of her senior season. The ASU signee rallied to lead her team to historic trophies in the postseason, grabbing their first CIF-SS and CIF State titles since 2006. Luckey was a huge part of that as she won a state title in the 400, ran great legs on the Bruins’ relays, and also scored points in the 200.

Boys’ Swimming: Collin Geer, Long Beach Poly

One of the best boys’ athletes in Long Beach in any sport, senior Colin Geer had a year to remember in the pool. Geer led his Jackrabbits boys’ swim team to their first-ever Moore League title, and broke the longest league title streak in California history in the process. The Michigan signee earned his spot with that accomplishment, but wasn’t done yet. He went on to win an individual CIF-SS title in the 200 IM with a record-setting time, and then claimed the first-ever individual CIF State title by a Long Beach swimmer in the modern era. 

Girls’ Swimming: Sammie Hamilton, Wilson 

Sammie Hamilton is the “next one up” in Long Beach’s long line of All-American caliber aquatic greats. With Geer graduating, the junior Hamilton will be the unquestioned top aquatic athlete in the city next year as she seeks to lead her Bruins to another league title. They won their third straight this year–and haven’t lost since Hamilton joined the team. She also had a very successful postseason, after setting Moore League records at the league meet. Hamilton took third in the 500 free at the CIF State meet, and will look to contend next year.

Boys’ Lacrosse: Nate Donovan, Wilson

The Bruins had a strong end to the regular season, winning their last seven games to claim their first ever Moore League championship. Donovan was a deserving choice as the league Player of the Year, and he would later be named Wilson’s prom king. On the lacrosse field, Donovan scored an overtime winner to beat Long Beach Poly, then helped Wilson to a pair of exciting wins to close out the regular season. After a 10-9 win at Millikan, the Bruins beat Downey in double overtime, 7-6, with Donovan assisting on the winning goal.

Girls’ Lacrosse: Eleni Voulgaris, Wilson

Downey High won its first Moore League title since 1971 with their first-place finish in girls’ lacrosse, but Wilson’s Eleni Voulgaris gets the nod as All-City Player of the Year in Long Beach. A dual-sport athlete who is also a standout on the soccer field, Voulgaris earned Team MVP honors for the second-place Bruins and was a first team All-Moore League selection. Voulgaris had 11 goals on 19 shots while adding in 5 assists, and was a force on both offense and defense for Wilson.

Boys’ Volleyball: Ian Nolte, Wilson

A star-studded Wilson team had a number of candidates for this honor, but the 6-foot-5 Nolte gets the nod after a terrific junior season. Nolte was a reliable pin-hitter for the Bruins, and has developed a well-rounded skill set. He helped guide the Bruins to an impressive 32-2 record this season, and the Bruins have now gone 78-8 in his three seasons as a varsity player. Nolte made his college commitment to Ohio State during the season, and is in line for a huge senior year with fellow top recruit Marek Turner also in the lineup.

Boys Golf: Ky Stopp, Wilson

For the second consecutive season, Wilson’s Ky Stopp put together some fabulous rounds during the Moore League individual tournament to take the title yet again. He won the four-day tournament by seven strokes and became the ninth boys’ golfer to accomplish that feat.

During the final round of the tournament, Stopp took time to appreciate that he had a gallery of friends and family following him around Skylinks Golf Course.

“It’s just great memories, and it doesn’t get any better than high school sports, especially winning,” Stopp said. “But winning around the people you compete against, who you know are also very good and respect you, that means a lot. It’s just incredible.”

Boys Tennis: Nolan Alvarez, Millikan

Just like Wilson’s Vanessa Holden did in October, Millikan’s Nolan Alvarez got back to the Moore League final for a third consecutive year and this time took care of business with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Wilson’s Leo Bauch.

“His biggest strength is his tenacity,” Millikan coach Devin Bowler said of Alvarez. “He switched back to his two handed backhand and that has been a huge improvement in his game and his ability to stay aggressive and attack while also being defensive.”

Boys’ Badminton: Abhishek Jain, Wilson

Abhishek Jain made it a Bruin sweep as he claimed the Moore League boys’ singles title last week in a thrilling run to the title. The junior brought home his first league singles title.

Girls’ Badminton: Maura Dark, Wilson

Wilson’s Maura Dark won the Moore League girls’ badminton singles title last year with a great run to the title. The senior claimed her first singles title with the win.

Support The562’s Year-End Fundraiser!, organized by Mike Guardabascio

Another school year in the books! The 2022-23 sports season was one to rememb… Mike Guardabascio needs your support for Support The562’s Year-End Fundraiser!

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.