Alta boys’ soccer hopes teamwork will result in wins this season
Alta’s Colby Young works the ball last season. (Courtney Stevens/Alta High School)
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In his 35th year as a soccer coach at Alta High School, Lee Mitchell has seen a lot of different things. He has worked with a lot of great players, won a lot of games and has handed out a great deal of wisdom. One bit of insight he always gives his players, coaches and those interested in Alta soccer is that the team will be successful if they play as a team.
“To be successful as a team, there has got to be a collective effort,” the veteran coach said.
That mentality has led to many postseason appearances over the years. Last year the Hawks finished with a 7-7-1 overall record, and took fourth in Region 7 with a 3-4-1 record. The team won their first game in the state tournament against East 1-0, but lost their second-round match-up to Maple Mountain 1-0.
Mitchell is hoping the team can stick together and play their way back into the postseason this year. This year’s squad is a bit younger and less experienced than teams of the past, but Mitchell believes they have what it takes to be competitive, to be tough on opponents. He believes that consistent play from everyone involved will be the key.
“These kids are out there working hard. They have the right attitude on and off the field,” Mitchell said. “They have a shot at doing very well if things work out the way they can.”
This year’s squad is being led by a few returning players, whose contributions to the team will be huge going forward. Alec Groathouse and Kyron Sidwell both play defense. Both are also team captains and seniors this year. Senior Colby Young also plays defense and is expected to shut down other teams’ progress on the pitch. Team captains and seniors Nick Lowrimore and Dylan Heaton play midfield. And junior striker Jett Sollis will likely be keeping the opposition’s defense busy all year.
On top of playing as a team and exhibiting great support for one another, Alta’s goals include competing for a region title and a state title as well. With a young and inexperienced group, that may be difficult, but Mitchell has his approach covered.
“If you want to get to the stars, you have to reach for them,” Mitchell said.
The Hawks began their season down in St. George in early March to play a couple of games against Dixie High School and Pine View High School. Play against region adversaries began in late March. Alta will be grueling it out until early May, before anyone knows who is sitting atop the region standings and what seeds will be doled out for the state tournament, but Mitchell loves his team’s chances.
“This particular group seems very hungry, they really want to be successful,” Mitchell said. “All of them seem to listen to all of the coaches, which usually leads to great things.”
Mitchell loves what he does — he must, he has been doing it for decades. He led the 2016 girls team to a region title. That group was also young. Mitchell says he will continue coaching as long as he’s enjoying it and as long as it seems the kids on his teams appreciate him as their coach.
“I love doing this, and I’ll keep on doing it as long as it is fun, which it always has been,” Mitchell said. “And, as long as there is teamwork and the kids are productive.”