Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Interview with Jewels Longoria-Morasky

Emily: My first question is how did you first get into water polo?

Jewels: How that worked was my mom put me in a bathing suit. This is like her exact words. She was like, ‘I’m a put my daughter in a baby pageant.’ I was 6 months old. I think it was called the Hawaiian Tropical Baby Pageant. I think that’s what it was called and then I took 2nd place. Eventually, she got me into the water and ever since then I just loved the water. From age 6 I started swimming first, then I stopped for 3 years and then I got back into it at the age of 10. At the age of 11, I was like, ‘hey I wanna be in water polo’. That’s how I got into water polo. I started out in the city of Commerce [at the] Brenda Villa Aquatic Center. I started there until I was probably like 13 or 14.

When COVID hit and since the city of Commerce is run through the government and since it’s LA County at the time, nothing was really going up yet because of COVID. A coach I know, his name is Devin Hunter. There was a team out there for club and he was like, ‘hey just come out here. We’re still practicing. We’re still doing contact.’ So it wasn’t like doing social distancing or anything. ‘Just come out here. Try it out.’ So I tried it out and I really liked the team so that really got me into polo. I always loved the water. I did play a couple of other sports. I did cheer and swim, eventually graduated and got into water polo, and did jiu-jitsu for a year everything at once. My parents were like, ‘hey I think it’s time to really choose what sport you wanna do’ so I chose [water] polo. That was really my passion.

Emily: Obviously you’re aware of the records you’ve been breaking. How does it feel to break the school record to have more than 100 exclusions in the season and what does that mean to you?

Jewels: Right now I feel honored. I give a big thank you to the coaches, especially Sergio. He’s always been the biggest mentor to me even though this is my first year. He was the main one that really got me to this point. I ultimately thank him. He’s a good mentor. I give him a lot of thanks. It’s a big honor because it’s a huge accomplishment. To create 9 exclusions in a game. Even goals too. It’s been a really big honor.

Emily: You have a lot of high ranks at the state level. Did you think that at the beginning of the season that this was gonna be something you were gonna accomplish?

Jewels: Yes. My biggest goal was that even throughout club, high school season, I’ve had goals where I’m like, ‘hey I wanna at least get top 20 in the nation for [the] club.’ With those goals, that’s how to me [I was able to] be self-motivated and be like, hey I can do it myself too, even though it’s collectively as a team.

Just having that mindset of being driven and be like, ‘yea I can do it. I have the ability. I can do it. I can show them in the water.’ A lot of people don’t understand how physical and how intense it is. The workouts, having the endurance. I can probably run like 4 miles if I wanted to. You just have so much endurance and you’re building your lungs to the point where like… I can hold my breath underwater for at least 2 minutes.

Emily: How did you deal with the transition from high school to the college level for water polo?

Jewels: Coming into a new team, from club and changing teams from there, I’m used to it. The dynamics, the environment I was already used to. Having a new coach. It was easy to adapt for me because I’ve dealt with different adversities and with other people. It was pretty easy with the girls, getting chemistry and the coaches.

Emily: What have you accomplished in your life this year outside of water polo?

Jewels: Right now, getting good grades. Having over a 3.5 GPA. It’s pretty cool for me about that. I would say, probably dropped 15 pounds throughout the years playing polo and being in Junior Olympics. Playing at the highest level. Just staying in shape, that’s a big accomplishment. [For] a lot of people, it’s hard for them to stay in shape and water polo is such a highly intense sport and the workouts are intense. The minute you stop, it’s hard to get back into it.

Emily: The Junior Olympics, do you wanna explain a little bit about that?

Jewels: Basically Junior Olympics, what it is… it’s in July. It’s a four-day tournament. A lot of college coaches see other players at the D1, D2. Even at the JC levels. They would come and see different water polo players. That’s what it mainly is. Basically you would wanna rank at the highest and try to win Junior Olympics. 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place. Whatever place it is. It’s the biggest tournament out of all the tournaments, throughout club. That’s like the biggest one. Every other year, I would go to San Jose and play at Stanford.

Emily: Did you place there?

Jewels: Like first or…?

Emily: Just in general..

Jewels: How it is is the different ranking. The platinum division is the highest one and that’s the one they want to be in. My team placed in that division but we placed I think 15th.

Emily: Outside of water polo, what else do you find yourself enjoying to do with your free time?

Jewels: I like working out a lot like lifting. Just eating well. That’s what it mainly is. So back to the high school part. My freshman year I was All-League MVP and then sophomore year obviously COVID [hit] so that wasn’t really a season. Junior year I was first team

All-League. Senior year I was first team All-League and then I was CIF 2nd team. Back to my freshman year I was also CIF 13th. My junior year, that was the first year I scored 13 goals. Going into college I scored 12 goals against Santa Monica and 11 goals against Pasadena

Emily: What are your long-term college goals? Do you have any schools in mind that you wanna transfer to yet?

Jewels: Yes. I’m here at Cerritos so I wanna stay here. Obviously, this is my first year. Second year I still wanna be here at a junior college and then transfer out to maybe a private school, Cal Baptist. I’m majoring in nursing. Cal Baptist is probably like one of the best in nursing programs. There are a lot of nursing programs that are really good too. That’s my biggest one.

Emily: Do you plan on continuing water polo at a higher level and if so what is the higher level?

Jewels: At a D1 school. Either Cal Baptist, APU, or Biola. They’re Christian schools and with my faith, that kinda relates to going into nursing and polo too. I’m still deciding because nursing is really hard. A lot of schools, especially playing at the next level, at the D1 level. Even at the D2 level, it’s really hard. A lot of schools would not recommend a sport and doing nursing at the same time because of how competitive and how much it is.

Emily: Do you wanna talk a little bit about your faith, what means to you, and how you play with faith in mind?

Jewels: Just having faith in the lord and Jesus. That helps me and that made me who I am as a person today. Having faith in god. Him helping me in prayer throughout difficulties like challenges whether it’s polo or school. The power of prayer is really strong and just having that and praying every single game. That helps me and that builds my confidence and I can do anything in Christ, through Christ. That kinda helps me through every single day. Without him, I don’t know where I would be.

Emily: Are there any challenges you faced this year and how are you able to get through them or are you still dealing with those challenges?

Jewels: Again a lot of adversity and the amount of years I’ve been playing polo. I’ve dealt with coaches in the past that aren’t super good. Even teammates that are really toxic. I would tell myself it’s fine. You can get through it. Just ignore it. Again through praying, that helped me and be like, you know, I’m a put this in God’s hands and he’s gonna deal with it. I just kept having faith and having faith. I just kept praying. Eventually those problems, it lead to something way bigger than what it is.

That and overcoming coaches that are really not so good. Even throughout school, struggles and classes, trying to find the balance of homework and coming home late for practice, still doing stuff at home. Projects and studying, that was a big challenge too. Just everything. Again it all came down to just praying. Just keeping my head up.

That really helped me and just giving myself like, ‘hey it’s ok. You can do it.’ My parents too. Obviously, I can’t forget them. Without them too, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Being the person that always follows in her faith. Being humbled and being positive throughout anything in the water or outside the water, at home. Anywhere I go. Honestly, with their support too, it really helped me.

Emily: Who would you say are your biggest supporters?

Jewels: Obviously my parents. Sergio. My boyfriend. My brother [who is] also a water polo player. He’s been through it all too. It’s mainly my parents, my brother and my boyfriend.

Emily: Who is someone who’s changed your perspective on just how you view life?

Jewels: My parents. Again, without them, I wouldn’t be the person who I am. Dealing with different adversities and dealing with difficult people, and teammates. Sports, it binds us and makes us who we are. It also helps us going into our career and into the work field, into the real world.

It helps because there are different adversities and different people you have to deal with in life. With them telling them, hey you have to do this and this and this. Some people aren’t gonna like it and they’re gonna have bosses that are gonna be a certain way. They’re just gonna be like that and you’re gonna have to work through it. Work through the challenges.

 

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About the Contributor
Emily Maciel, Co-Sports Editor
Emily Maciel is the Co-Sports & Co-Social Media Editor for Talon Marks as she returns for her second semester with the newspaper. She is in her third season of working for the Los Angeles Angels as well as her second season with the Cerritos College baseball team. She plans to transfer to a University for the Fall 2024 semester and work for the MLB one day.
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