by Scott Boyle
Soccer is coming to San Juan High School at long last.
After a three year push by interested parents in Blanding, the San Juan School Board gave approval for the Broncos to field boys and girls soccer teams starting with the 2017-18 season.
“Let’s try it out,” said an enthusiastic Bronco Athletic Director Ryan Nielson.
The Broncos will field a girls team in the fall and a boys team for the spring season.
“We will have an eight game JV schedule, all road games,” explained Nielson. “We don’t really have a field yet.”
Soccer comes as the Broncos make the move to the 3A ranks next season. “We would be the only 3A school without it [soccer],” says Nielson.
The Broncos will give soccer a try for two years. “We’ll see how it goes,” says Nielson.
The UHSAA has told schools that games against San Juan won’t count, so the Broncos will be basically independent for the first two years.
Nielson likes that idea, maintaining that schools that have just jumped in and played a region schedule haven’t been very successful.
“We’ll see how much interest there will be, how well we do. If we can get kids competitive and get new kids out that aren’t currently involved, that will be exactly what we would want.”
The interest is there for athletes and a core group of parents, but Nielson is having a hard time finding a coach with only one applicant so far.
“A lot of people think you can just kick the ball around, but there’s not a lot of soccer people around.
"That’s what I worry about,” he contends. “I gotta start being a student of soccer. I might have to get that book, ‘Soccer for Idiots’,” he adds.
Add to that the problem of finding qualified officials. “Who would ref a soccer game in Blanding?” he queries.
A positive is that soccer isn’t a real expensive sport. Nielson thinks they could possibly turn the old baseball field into a soccer field, which would require some extra maintenance, but once you have the goals and officials, most of the expense is taken care of.
And there is some concern about taking athletes from other sports, like tennis and cross country for the girls in the fall and baseball and track for the boys in the spring.
“It’ll be interesting to see,” he concedes. “It’ll be a new adventure. We’ll take it on and be as positive as we can. Try it for two years and see how it goes. If it doesn’t work, we won’t do it. We could fall on our face. But, we have the athletes.”
Four Monticello High School athletes were honored recently with all-state basketball selections. Seniors Atlanta Black, Allie Maughan and Carson Duncan and junior Jake Freestone received the accolades for their efforts on the basketball court this past season.
The awards for Black and Maughan culminate a stellar run by the girl’s basketball team over the past four years, as the Lady Bucks made the semifinals of the state tournament two years in a row, something that hadn’t been done in over 30 years.
Black was named first team all-state for the second year in a row after leading the Lady Buckaroos to a fourth place at the 1A state tournament in February.
Black, who was also first team last year as a junior and third team as a sophomore, finished the season as the third leading scorer in 1A, averaging 18.7 points per game (ppg).
She scored 30 points or more four times during the season, with a career high of 37 points against Whitehorse on January 20.
In an outstanding four-year career for the Lady Bucks, Black had a career average of 14.2 ppg, while appearing in what has to be a school record 93 games and scoring another record 1,317 points.
Scoring in double figures in 61 of her last 67 games, Atlanta led the Lady Buckaroos to 69 wins against just 24 losses in her four years.
And her sidekick every step of the way was Allie Maughan, who was named to the second team all-state after being named honorable mention all-state both her junior and sophomore years.
Maughan also played in 93 games for the Buckaroos in an energetic four year career, scoring 542 points, averaging 5.8 ppg and at least that many steals and assists.
Maughan triggered the defense and the offense for the Lady Buckaroos and was a key figure in those 69 wins as well as helping the Lady Buckaroos place three times in four years at the 1A girls state tournament.
This season, Maughan averaged 7.6 ppg, draining nine treys, while scoring a season high 13 points twice. Her career high was 18 in a game against Wayne in the state tournament her junior year.
Atlanta Black and Allie Maughan, two names to go down in the annals of Lady Buckaroo greats.
Duncan was named third team all-state for the Buckaroos this season. He was the go-to guy for the Bucks the entire season, scoring 14.7 ppg while hitting double figures in 21 of 24 games.
His season and career high game came against the Ignacio, CO Bobcats in late February, when he poured in 30 points in a 71-53 Buckaroo win. In his three year Buckaroo career, Duncan averaged eight points per game, appearing in 58 games for the Bucks while scoring 468 points.
Freestone was named to the honorable mention all-state team for the Buckaroos, after averaging 11.8 ppg in his first varsity season. Freestone led the Buckaroos in three-point field goals, nailing 25 on the season, and will be back for his senior season next year.
Congratulations to all four Buckaroo athletes.