Dsc 0477
Cabrillo Century Club Jordan Lakewood Long Beach City College Long Beach Poly Long Beach State Millikan St. Anthony Wilson

Long Beach Century Club Hosts 67th Annual Sports Night Banquet

The Long Beach Century Club hosted their 67th Annual Sports Night Banquet this week recognizing Long Beach’s top athletes along with outstanding community members. 

While the banquet stayed similar to years past, there was a change of venue this year. With the Grand undergoing renovations, the event was hosted at the Long Beach Petroleum Club. 

President Michael Okabayashi started the night by honoring Long Beach middle schools, high schools, Long Beach City College, and Cal State Long Beach. 

“We’re all about supporting them to help this ecosystem just get bigger and better for the city of Long Beach,” Okabayashi said.

Monthly Subscribers to The562

By The562 Network Inc

Subscribe to the562 on GiveButter to make a recurring donation and keep Long Beach sports coverage free!

The banquet also took a moment to remember the lives of ten Long Beach sports greats this year, including Century Club Hall of Famers Nick Hopkins and Dave Levy. 

This year’s Athlete of the Year was professional Major League Baseball player and Millikan alum Spencer Steer. Despite being drafted by Cleveland in the 26th round of the MLB draft during his senior year of high school, Steer chose to play collegiate baseball at Oregon. In 2019, Steer was drafted by Minnesota. In September 2022, Steer made his professional debut with Cincinnati going 2/2 with a home run. 

Chris Steer, Spencer Steer’s father, accepted the award on behalf of his son, who was in Pittsburgh playing a series against the Pirates.

“I just want to say thank you to the Century Club for awarding this special honor and recognition to Spencer,” Chris Steer said. “He is certainly honored and humbled to receive this award.”

This year’s Hall of Fame class had five inductees. BI Mais and Carl Weathers were both posthumously inducted for their time spent playing football in Long Beach. 

Mais helped lead St. Anthony’s to a 1948 CIF Championship, where he also earned All-City, All-CIF, and All-Catholic league honors. Weathers, although known for his acting career, was a standout football player at Long Beach Poly and Long Beach City College before leading the San Diego State Aztecs to an undefeated season in 1969.

Chris Oeding was inducted as well, honored for his success as the Long Beach City College men’s water polo coach. Oeding has plenty of national team experience, serving as Team USA’s captain in 1997 when they won the World Cup gold in Athens. Oeding was also a part of the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame class of 2024.

“It is an honor to be inducted into this Hall of Fame with this class and in this sports Hall of Fame with the legends of Long Beach,” Oeding said.

Alan Knipe was another inductee for the class of 2024. Knipe is a Long Beach State volleyball legend, winning three national championships throughout his time at the Beach. Knipe is the winningest coach in Long Beach State men’s volleyball history with 402 career wins.

The final Hall of Fame inductee for the year was DeSean Jackson. Jackson is a Long Beach Poly alum who excelled in the NFL throughout 15 seasons. Jackson holds the NFL’s record for long touchdown receptions in a single season and was the first player in NFL history to earn Pro Bowl honors at two positions – receiver and returner. 

“Thank you for all the support and honor,” said Rob Shock, Long Beach Poly boys’ athletic director, on behalf of Jackson. “We appreciate being recognized by the Long Beach Century Club at this time.”

Brandon Hyde was named the Coach of the Year. Hyde, a former Dirtbag, was the 2023 American League Manager of the Year. Hyde received 27 of the 30 first-place votes, the most by a manager in the voting since 2008. Hyde led the Baltimore Orioles to 100 wins for the first time since 1979 and was only one of three teams in the MLB to do so. 

Shannon Fisher, Neil Nelson, and Crystal Irving were honored as High School Tri-Coaches of the Year.

Fisher and Nelson of Wilson Track led the Bruins to success yet again. The boys’ team tied for the CIF-SS title and the girls’ team won the CIF State title, going back-to-back for the first time in school history. 

Irving led the Long Beach Poly boys’ track and field team to their first CIF State title since 2011. This title now ties Irving for most state championships by a woman in California sport’s history. 

The Long Beach State Athletes of the Year were golfer Jasmine Leovao and men’s basketball player Aboubacar Traore. The LBCC Athletes of the Year were softball player Anaya Togia and baseball player Luke Davis.

The Century Club also took time to award some of the community’s outstanding citizens. Award recipients included Dr. William Warden (Bob and Nell Kariger Award), Jim Michaelian (Keith Cordes Award), John Borders and Paige Rodriguez (Harold Hofman Memorial Scholarship Awards), Kalani Caldwell and Maggie Twinem (Keith Hansen Memorial Award), Leilany Castro (Philip Guardabascio Award), LaTanya Sheffield (Hank Hollingworth Award), Jeff Scott (Marie C. Gooch Past-Presidents Award), Constance “Connie” Gastelum and Steven Joplin (Special Olympics Awards), and Earl McCullouch III (Ernie G. Pollman Memorial Award).

High School Players of the Year were also recognized for each sport, and are listed below:

Girls’ Badminton: Jasmin Ramos, Cabrillo

Boys’ Badminton: Abhishek Jain, Wilson

Co-Baseball: Anthony Pack, Millikan & Taylor Kirk, Wilson

Co-Girls’ Basketball: Nyema King, Lakewood & Ryann Bennet, St. Anthony

Co-Boys’ Basketball: Jovani Ruff, Long Beach Poly & Quincy Phillips, St. Anthony

Co-Beach Volleyball: Olivia Smith & Sophia Orbiso, Millikan

Girls’ Cross Country: Nadia Mejia, Millikan

Boys’ Cross Country: Jason Parra, Millikan

Girls’ Diving: Fiona Lobedecis, Long Beach Poly

Flag Football: Tiare Ho-Ching, Long Beach Poly

Co-Football: Darius Curry, Long Beach Poly & Ryan Pellum, Millikan

Girls’ Golf: Samantha Shaw, Wilson

Boys’ Golf: Bryson Barnes, Wilson

Boys’ Lacrosse: Bennett Hreschuk, Millikan

Girls’ Soccer: Audrey Stewart, Millikan

Boys’ Soccer: Aaron De Leon, Millikan 

Co-Softball: Ava Schaffel, Millikan & Ki’ele Ho-Ching, Long Beach Poly

Girls’ Swimming: Sammie Hamilton, Wilson

Boys’ Swimming: Wyatt Mitchell, Wilson

Girls’ Tennis: Mandy Oliveros, CAMS

Boys’ Tennis: Nolan Alvarez, Millikan

Girls’ Track & Field: Loren Webster, Wilson

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

Co-Girls’ Volleyball: Taylor Mercado, Long Beach Poly & Chloe Pravednikov, Wilson

Boys’ Volleyball: Ian Nolte, Wilson

Girls’ Water Polo: Katherine O’Dea, Wilson

Boys’ Water Polo: Wyatt Mitchell, Wilson

Girls’ Wrestling: Ashley Wafer, Lakewood

Boys’ Wrestling: Chris Anguiano, Millikan

Girls’ High School Athlete of the Year: Sammie Hamilton, Wilson

Co-Boys’ High School Athlete of the Year: Xai Ricks, Long Beach Poly & Jason Parra, Millikan

PHOTOS: 67th Annual Long Beach Century Club Sports Night Banquet
Nina Fife
Nina Fife is a freshman at Pepperdine University majoring in journalism. She began working with The562 in the inaugural intern class before being hired as their Social Media Director and now Assistant Editor. Nina is a proud Long Beach schools alum who graduated with valedictorian honors.