Spencer Allen is well aware of the history and tradition he has become a part of during his four years with the Long Beach Wilson High aquatics program.
The senior water polo and swim star punctuated his career last week by leading the Bruins to their eighth consecutive Moore League championship with a match-high seven goals in a 14-5 win over Millikan on Nov. 5 in a battle of rivals previously unbeaten in league play.
His scoring prowess and willingness to lead by example have helped the team continue its long history of winning, something he is very proud of.
“That’s just the Wilson aquatics expectation,” he said. “It’s living up the Bruin athlete expectation and knowing I didn’t let the program down. It’s expected to win that Moore League championship. It’s been even longer with the swim team.”
And while Allen has consistently led Wilson in scoring throughout the season, he says his priority before every game is to put forth the relentless effort he expects of himself and meet whatever needs the team has in order to win.
“We run an offense for the whole team,” he said. “Everybody has got to be driving and trying to get goals. If I’m the leading scorer I think its because I’m in the right places. I go into the game thinking ‘let’s get this victory no matter how well I play or not.’ I’ll do whatever I can to get the victory.”
Before each contest, Allen gathers his teammates on the pool deck after the official whistles the two-minute warning and leads a prayer chant.
“I lead the huddle and I’ll say my special prayer to get the boys going,” he said.
It’s no coincidence he has landed in his current position, following in the footsteps of his brother and honing the craft he has loved since the respective ages of four in swimming and seven in water polo.
“I really love the sport and its environment. I have had the CIF five-peat champion teams (from the mid-2000’s) as role models,” he said of the time spent with the older athletes who had success in the program.
Allen also feels personally responsible for leading the team both in and out of the pool and has created a close relationship with head coach Jeff Nesmith.
“Coach taught me to surf,” Allen said. “That bond with me and him now is super strong. It’s a good bond because he’s the man in charge and then it moves down the food chain to me to set a good example for the team since I have the most experience. I like to play with passion. That’s what it means to be a Wilson water polo player.”
Nesmith credited Allen for his continued growth and the energy he provides.
“He’s a spark plug for us,” the coach said. “Always a big part of the offense, so much of our offense goes through him. He never quits out there. He’s been our biggest offensive weapon this season and we’re looking for big things from him in CIF.”
Allen also says he is grateful for the having the chance to grow up in such an athletic hub, especially one which garners much opportunity for those with aquatic endeavors.
“I feel very blessed and fortunate, especially growing up in the city of Long Beach,” he said. “To have such programs as Wilson and Shore Aquatics. I’m just very blessed to be at Wilson, to have gone through this program and won so many Moore League championships. It’s such a family, probably the best aquatic community there is.”
With the Moore League title in hand, the Bruins earned a home game in the opening round of the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs, which they played against Sunset League No.2 seed Newport Harbor today at 5 p.m. at the Belmont Outdoor Pool.
“I expect to go out with the hardest mentality in the pool,” Allen said prior to the matchup. “We have the mindset that nobody is going through us and we won’t give anyone an easy game. If you have the most heart, that’s how you’ll be victorious. We’re also looking for guys to step up from role players. I’m just looking forward to CIF and giving it my all. I know my team is doing that as well.”
In terms of the season as a whole, Allen is proud of all that Wilson (12-14, 5-0) has accomplished while playing through a tough nonleague schedule and says the team has enjoyed a unique home pool advantage.
“This season has been good,” he said. “There’s probably not a single moment that stands out, but after every game at the Belmont is the best feeling because there’s so much support. The feeling that everyone goes as hard as they can because there’s something about the Belmont that makes us play different.”