The562’s cross country and track & field coverage is sponsored by an anonymous donation, in appreciation of Coach Ron Allice.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.
The historic Wilson girls’ track and field team that won last year’s CIF-SS Division 1 and CIF State championship received a special honor at last week’s Wilson football game. The Bruins’ Homecoming crowd was packed, and in addition to a thrilling football game the crowd got to cheer on the Bruins girls’ track team as they were given their championship rings.
“This was a good one, this was special,” said Wilson coach Neil Nelson. “I was involved in all the other championships when Terry Kennedy was the head coach, but this is my first one as head coach. It’s special, and it’s fun thinking about the future with this young team that we have.”
The Bruins were announced one by one, with each member of the team receiving a bouquet of cardinal and gold-themed flowers as well as a box with their new rings. The championship rings feature the school’s logo and the words “State Champions” on their face and each athlete or coach’s name on the side.
“I think they’re beautiful,” said returning junior Loren Webster, who scored points for the Bruins at the State meet on the 4×100 and in the long jump. “I love what they did with them.”
Another returning junior, Kaylin Edwards, won the state championship in the 300 hurdles last year and will be the favorite to repeat this year.
“I think it’s great to do this at halftime of the football game and see all the school support and a big crowd,” said Edwards.
The Bruins will be without state champion Aujane Luckey this year, as she’s at Arizona State competing, but they return Webster, Edwards, and other key contributors including Brook Blue, Tarynn Maroney and Xcaret Tirado. Nelson said his returners have had a different attitude to start this school year.
“The kids are confident, they understand what the hard work looks like, they understand what it takes,” he said. “This year is a little different because ‘you did it.’ We’re trying to make sure they’re not worried about performing, about times, that they’re just competing and working and having fun like they did last year.”