Thunder Basin boys soccer secured its first state championship after coming close the last few seasons.
“It feels amazing, but it’s a weird feeling,” coach Saber Garcia said. “That comeback against Jackson Hole set the tone for the weekend.”
Angel Ontiveros scored the lone goal of the game in the 26th minute when the ball bounced away from a Cheyenne Central defender and Ontiveros pummeled the ball to the lower left side of the goal.
For the rest of the game, the defense took over. Cheyenne Central is one of the highest-scoring teams in the state, so the Bolts had their work cut out for them.
“I’m really proud of all that defense,” Garcia said. “Our midfield was one of our biggest strengths this season. They controlled the ball and controlled the game.”
The Bolts did it the hard way. They knocked out the defending champions, Jackson Hole, in the first round. Then, they handed Kelly Walsh its first loss of the season. In the title game, the Bolts beat a Cheyenne Central team that started the season undefeated until the Indians came to Gillette in the regular season. Garcia told his team not to be phased by the gauntlet because they’ll “have to beat them anyway.”
Thunder Basin’s gauntlet wasn’t just the teams it faced. Colton Vetter, the starting goalkeeper got a concussion in the first-round game against Jackson Hole. In came freshman Boone Roswadovski who started the next two games and didn’t allow a goal against Kelly Walsh or Cheyenne Central.
Thunder Basin will graduate several key players. Colton Vetter, Conner Bates, Dariune Ruiz, Angel Ontiveros, Ivan Delgado, Saber Sessions, Riley Ringer, Javier Ogayar and Caleb Howell are all seniors. The team’s goalkeeper from last year who injured his knee before the season, Landon Zebroski, is also graduating.
“Those guys stepped up so much in those wins,” Garcia said. “Everybody, our seniors led the way. Caleb (Howell) and (Riley) Ringer set the way in the middle.”
Even with the number of players leaving the program, Garcia is excited for the future of his program. After the win, he told his younger players that they know now what it takes to win.
“We might be young next year but I have a lot of confidence and we have a lot of good players,” Garcia said.
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