Long Beach Wilson’s classic first girl’s water polo title


In this installment of The562.org’s Classics video series, we look back at the instant classic that was the 2018 Wilson girls’ water polo CIF Southern Section Division 3 championship.

The Bruins had a first-year head coach in Barry O’Dea and a host of young, unproven talent on the roster, but reached the final against top-seeded Harvard Westlake at Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine.

Wilson and Harvard Westlake battled in a one-goal contest from whistle to whistle, but sophomore Maegan Simon scored the game-winner for the Bruins with 42 seconds to play. It was the first girls’ water polo championship in Wilson history and was the team’s first finals appearance since 1998.

Wilson junior captain Brooke Gruneisen scored a hat trick and sophomore goalkeeper Camryn Krueger made her ninth and 10th saves of the game in the final seconds to clinch the historic victory.

“That was definitely the game of my life,” Krueger said.

Krueger tragically lost her mother before the season and the entire team played in her honor. The crowd was extra large for Wilson because Long Beach Poly had played in the CIF-SS Division 4 final earlier in the day, capping the best Moore League girls’ water polo season in history. Many fans stayed for both games. Those games were also the first ones covered by The562.org, so it was a special day for everyone.

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Steve Lowery began his journalism career at the Los Angeles Times, where he planned to spend his entire career. God, as usual, laughed at his plans and he has since written for the short-lived sports publication The National, the L.A. Daily News, the Press-Telegram, New Times LA, the District and the OC Weekly. He is the Arts & Culture Editor for the Post, overseeing the Hi-lo.