Men’s soccer in 2019 was a roller-coaster of emotions. This year four sophomores led 17 freshman on the pitch, with high expectations for the relatively young team.
Head coach Matt Gerlach said the freshmen had a lot of impact this season.
“I know that if they become okay with the uncomfortability of hard work they can be amazing leaders, teammates and translate that into on the field success,” he said.
The men’s soccer team follows the motto “Embrace the journey.” This can be seen in the attitude of the coach and the players.
“On the field wins and losses were better than last year but still not where we expect or hope,” Gerlach said.
He describes the season in this one sentence.
“We found some success and struggled through failure but in it all we grew.”
The women’s soccer team went from last year’s eighth place in the Kansas Jayhawk Conference to placing fourth this year. Despite injuries among key players, head coach Bryan Kehr led his team to success.
“Success is found in the process of working to improve,” Kehr said. “What you need to do each day to improve is the goal we focus on.”
Kehr’s favorite moment from the season was eating a meal together after the win at Garden City.
“I enjoyed the company of the team after working hard together.”
According to Kehr, the sophomores leave a legacy of hard work and grit for the freshman to follow.
This year’s cross country team has definitely been one to watch. Coach Todd Lehman has led the tight-knit group of young men to achieve more, and off the course. (There was no women’s team this year.)
Would he call it a successful season?
“In terms of being good, supportive, encouraging teammates, and improving performance throughout the season – so far, YES,” Lehman said.
This optimism is mirrored in the classroom as well.
“The freshmen have great attitudes and a strong work ethic, they encourage each other to work hard toward achieving their goals.”
Lehman says he will miss the dedication and encouragement, and the sense of building a singular unit out of a bunch of individuals. Four of those individuals chose to walk-on to the team where Lehman welcomed them with open arms.
Many eyes were on head volleyball coach Casey Cole as she entered her first year. Through the leadership of her sophomores, and the buzzing energy of the freshman, Cole began the transition from assistant coach to head coach.
“I wanted to push our physicality, and we achieved that goal,” Cole said.
Cole defines success as leaving the season with stronger physical, mental, and emotional knowledge of the game, and growing in their walk with Christ.
“I’ve seen many of these elements through different times and am encouraged by the successes we’ve seen this season,” she said.
Cole will miss the long bus rides and the sophomores who have ridden the roller coaster of these last two seasons with her.
“I will miss them deeply but can’t wait to see them change the world,” she said.
An earlier version of this article referred to Daniel Ochs being being the only a walk-on in men’s cross country. The mistake has been corrected