Girls and boys soccer championships belong to West Valley schools
Dec 08, 2016 03:41PM
By Greg James
By Greg James | [email protected]
Granite School District annually holds an after-school athletic program. West Lake and Kennedy junior high schools came away as the girls and boys fall soccer champions.
“This season was really fun. I loved my teammates and we really played well as a team,” said Kennedy Junior High School eighth-grader Olivia Harding.
Kennedy’s seventh- and eighth-grade team were coached by Jill Walgamont. The Crusaders play a modified intramural schedule and Walgamont selected an all-star team to represent the school at a district four game tournament.
“Olivia is a great player. She is an all-around athlete. She plays just about everything, in fact I am trying to get her to play volleyball now. She is almost like a fish out of water on this team, but she is exciting and I think one of our top athletes,” Walgamont said.
Kennedy swept its three play-in games. They defeated Hunter Junior High School 4-1, Jefferson Junior High 6-0 and Matheson Junior High 4-1 to qualify for the championship game.
“I was really nervous to play Kearns in the championship. We had heard how good they were and we watched how well they warmed up. They played really good defense. The second half they had a girl following me around the entire time,” Harding said.
The Crusaders came away with a 4-0 victory in the game over Kearns Junior High.
“I felt like we had a great season. The girls really worked hard and came together on and off the field. They all improved on their grades and learned what it takes to represent their school,” Walgamont said.
Harding said their coach taught them plays and what to do in key situations.
“I know a lot of these girls want to continue playing in high school. They have the talent and could really get better,” Walgamont said. “Olivia is an exceptional athlete and one of our captains. She really fit right in with the team.”
West Lake Junior High School boys soccer team finished its season as district champion also. The Mustangs tied their initial game of the season against Valley Junior High 3-3. In the following two games they defeated Kearns Junior High 8-0 and Bonneville Junior High 5-0.
“We played well this year. We did tie that first game, but they worked together and had a great season,” said Mustangs head coach Macord Johnson.
The Mustangs defeated Hunter Junior High in the championship game 4-2.
“Junior high sports has the competitive aspect, but it is more about working together for a team. I am proud of these kids, a lot of them changed and got their grades up. They were excited to see what they were capable of in school. They did not give up and quit. Sports has the power to change some students and help them become a better part of the school,” Johnson said.
Midfielder Diego Fuentes and keeper Fernando Perez were standout players this season. Many of the Mustang players have aspirations to continue playing soccer in high school.
“Our left midfielder and captain Salvador Colorado was really a leader on our team as far as athletic performance and academics. He was an integral part of our success and a role model for all of our team,” Johnson said.
Players at Kennedy and West Lake learned the importance of representing their team and school.
“Yeah, it is a little pressurey to represent my school. I could feel the importance of doing my best,” Harding said.
Kennedy and West Lake are both repeat Granite District champions. They both won titles in 2015 also.
Granite School district offers competitive programs for its junior high schools. It is a step down from high school competition, but provides a basis for athletes to begin their scholastic competitive careers. Schools compete in soccer, cross country, basketball, volleyball and wrestling.