Waukee Soccer Then and Now

October 15, 2018

     The Waukee boys soccer team proved a lot with their 2018 Boys Class 3A Soccer state title. They made it to the tournament and were seeded eighth. That meant, in the eight team tournament, that they would square off with top-ranked, West Des Moines Valley. They knocked off the Tigers, 2-1, in overtime. At halftime, they were down 1-0. After a second half goal by Trevor Jones, the Warriors sent it to overtime at 1-1. In overtime, Lucas Gutierrez scored, winning it for the Warriors 2-1. That set a semi final matchup with the #5 Iowa City West Trojans. It was a slow first half, tied at zero. Four minutes into the second half, Justin Crawmer scored to put the Warriors up, 1-0. But just 21 seconds later, West’s Gada Ambo, scored to tie it up. Late in the second half, Sully Bolles scored to put Waukee up for good, 2-1.

     The Warriors had a chance to win their first state title since 2001. They squared up with the #3 Bettendorf Bulldogs. The first half was dominated by Waukee, scoring three goals to none. Sully Bolles, Connor Wallace, and Lucas Gutierrez, all scored for Waukee. They held on to win 3-0 and win the state championship. Edi Cokovic, now a junior, was a sophomore playing varsity when the Warriors won the title.

     “To win the state championship was an awesome feeling,” said Cokovic, “We knew as a team we were able to win it, our coach told us to play our game and to get it done was a huge relief. Cokovic was one of few sophomores to make the varsity team, an unusual feat to accomplish as a sophomore.  “It was awesome to be a part of it,” commented Cokovic, “We had a young team, only a few seniors. We were young but had a lot of potential, all of our losses were very close games.”

     Now, Lucas Gutierrez, one of the stars of the team, goes to school at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a prep school in Faribault, Minnesota. Shattuck-St. Mary’s is a college prep that focuses on high level education and high level athletics, preparing its athletes for the next level. “It’s a way more competitive environment,” Gutierrez said, “We train for 10 months out of the year so you’re always getting better.” Looking back on the state championship, Gutierrez made big contributions to the state championship run. He was even named to the All-Tournament team, a high honor in Iowa High School sports.

     “I think the defining moment was when we scored the third goal, they all just put their heads down,” expressed Gutierrez, “I knew we had the ability to win it all since the end of sophomore season, we had nine guys on varsity as freshman so the experience and maturity gave me the belief that we could win.” The Waukee Warriors made a historic state run. Almost never does a #8 seed win the state title. The Warriors accomplished to do so.

     Now, the Warriors will try to go back to back this spring. Waukee will return many players and will have an opportunity to do so. “We return a lot of guys which helps us,” said Cokovic, “Even without [Lucas], I think we have a lot of talent, obviously he’s a great player, but I think we’ll have a chance to do it again.” With many players confident, the boys from Waukee will be a dangerous team, and even after accomplishing every team’s goal, they remain humble and goal oriented, and most of all, poised to win the title again for their community.

 

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