Young varsity soccer team starts off strong


Evan Hanchey

Evan Yount (11), number 8, and Bowman Hall (11), number 7, run out in an attacking play to goal at the game against Dolores Huerta Preparatory School on August 25 at Mestas Field.

Erica Sherwin, Reporter

Manitou Springs High School boys soccer has officially started their 2022 season with the next home game on Friday, Sept. 16  against Bayfield at 6 p.m.. The season was expected to be a rebuilding year for MSHS, especially after the loss of nine seniors over the past two graduating classes, but it has turned into a successful start with a current record of four wins to two losses.

On the boys’ soccer roster this season is only one senior, Luke Donegan, a veteran player and leader. 

Donegan has played soccer for the Mustangs all four years of high school and is currently one of three captains for the varsity squad. He has been a starting midfielder for the past three years and is an integral part of the boys’ soccer success this season. 

Donegan, being the only boy to stick with playing the sport through his senior year at a high school with only 452 students is not the norm.

“It’s really about the teamwork and being with the team and being a part of something bigger than yourself.”

— Luke Donegan

“It’s really about the teamwork and being with the team and being a part of something bigger than yourself,” Donegan said.

In the past two years, multiple skilled athletes have not rejoined the roster because of their interest in pursuing other sports during the fall season, including Andrew Rhodes (12), Kai Thomas (12) and Lairden Rogge (12). As sophomores, all three were on the team during the district’s first-ever boys’ soccer league championship win in 2020. 

Rogge decided not to play two years ago, directly after the league championship win to join the cross-country team for the next 2021 fall season. 

“I’ve decided to switch my focus more towards running, so I could potentially do that in college,” Rogge said. 

It is important to note that all through high school Rogge has been one of the fastest people on the varsity MSHS track team, qualifying and placing in the state meet multiple times. His shift to participating in cross-country rather than soccer was not shocking and set him up for a better chance at doing high-level collegiate track. 

While there is some speculation from the student body that the change was because of team dynamics, Rogge said, “It didn’t really have anything to do with the players or the coaches.” 

His personal decision may have affected the defense for the boys’ soccer team but inevitably makes sense for his future athletic pursuits. 

Like Rogge, Rhodes decided not to play soccer after participating in club baseball, which was a goal going into his 2022 baseball season. 

Rhodes is looking for collegiate recruiting opportunities and said, “I just want to pursue my dream of playing baseball for as long as I possibly can.” 

Soccer was never Rhodes’ main sport over the past three years although, during his time on the field, he made a reputation of being an athletic offensive threat for the Mustangs.

With the lack of senior participation, leadership on the team has been reliant on the MSHS junior class which consists of 11 players, two of which are captains alongside Donegan. 

One of the junior captains is Evan Yount, who alone is leading the team in assists and is the second leading scorer.

 As a club soccer athlete, Yount has been given a lot of responsibility to be a role model player for the underclassmen on the varsity team.

 As a student leader, Yount knows the difficulties and hurdles of playing a high-contact sport. 

There are reasons some students at MSHS feel reservations about playing a physically and mentally intense high school sport. 

In order to achieve top performance from the team, head coach Ben Mack requires players to do conditioning drills along with hour-and-a-half practices every day of the week. 

“Definitely doing conditioning drills is the worst part of practice but it’s necessary,” Yount said.  

With all the training and weeks spent on fitness, the varsity squad should be prepared for the upcoming non-league game against Bayfield this Friday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m.. “I’m looking forward to playing in the game on Friday with my teammates and hopefully improving our current team morale,” Yount said.