No boys’ soccer team has ever won four consecutive state titles in Wyoming. Cheyenne East won the first three championships ever held, from 1987 to 1989, and Jackson won four out of five in 3A between 2012 and 2016, but four straight years? Nope.
The 2023 version of the Jackson Hole High boys’ soccer team will get its shot at history when the season kicks off Tuesday against Lander Valley High.
It was a scheduled home game for Friday, but harsh winter weather has dictated moving the game to Lander for Tuesday, head coach Matt Hoelscher said.
“Most likely, that’s going to get flipped,” Hoelscher said of the season opener.
After that, the first home game is scheduled for 1 p.m. March 25 against Rock Springs.
The boys’ team lost a ton of talent, including Hoelscher’s son, Charlie, who was named Wyoming’s Gatorade Player of the Year last season and is now playing college soccer in Minnesota. But 2023 is not a rebuilding year for the Broncs, Hoelscher said.
“How about reloading?” he said with a laugh.
Returning are all-state players Teddy Opler at forward and Braden Hills on defense. But the Broncs will need to find a goalie to replace Javi Huta. Last year’s backup, freshman Owen Beninga, would have been more than sufficient, but Beninga is attending the New England Revolution Academy in Boston.
Asked who will step up, Hoelscher said, “That’s a good question.” Senior Johan Garcia can play goalie, but the team needs him on the field and scoring goals, the coach said.
Other returners expected to play key roles include midfielders Jared Perez and Jenson Smock, center backs Oliver Kimmel and Peter Concannon, outside back Brian Diaz and Axel Vargas.
“It’ll be fun to see this team kind of come together and step out of the shadows,” Hoelscher said.
Lady Broncs aim for first 4A title
The Jackson Hole High girls’ soccer team has won the third-place game at state the past two seasons but is ready to make the move to title team this year.
The girls won three straight state 3A titles (and four in five years) from 2014 to 2016 and want to do that at the 4A level.
“We have a great group of talent coming into the program this year,” head coach Kristen Pizarro said. “Overall, I’m excited. I’m anxious to get out on the field,” she said of Friday’s opener against Lander.
The first home game is scheduled for 11 a.m. March 25 against Rock Springs.
The girls lost all-state players Brooklyn Hills and Phoebe Alva Rosa to graduation, along with goalie Sidney Nash, but they also return much of 2022’s team, including all-state junior midfielder Taya McClennen.
McClennen will be one of two captains, along with senior defender Jordan Davis, Pizarro said.
Vying for starting goalie will be junior Reina Rhodes, who started for the junior varsity last season, and freshman Harlie Rommel.
Other returning players with experience include seniors Naomi Roper and August Otto and juniors Mia Brazil, Brynn Crabtree, Madison Kramer and Petra Cernicek.
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