Both Alta High School and Aurelia High School have fielded outstanding athletic teams in a variety of sports through the years, but this year the shared district has undertaken a new sport, soccer - or futbol as it's known throughout the world, where it is the most popular sport.
In response to a request from students this spring, the Alta and Alta School Boards voted to start a soccer program, and the response from students has been enthusiastic, with several boys - and a few girls - signing up for the team. Science teacher/coach Will Dible volunteered to coach the team, as he has had some experienece with the sport. Because the decision to start a program took place so late in the school year, however, scheduling games for this spring has not been possible, so Alta-Aurelia is playing exhibitions against junior varsity teams from area high schools this season - and possibly next.
The teams played two 45 minute halves, but no score was kept, since it was an exhibition match. Alta-Aurelia coach Will Dible said, " I think we had a great game overall. For many of the kids, it was their first organized soccer game ever - or the first organized game they had since they were in elementary school. A team in that situation, which has only had about a month's worth of practice, would normally be expected to have gotten beaten fairly badly. Instead, we actually had a pretty good game. Our offense looked very 'together', and we were able to see some flaws in our defense that we are going to address. Again, the kids played with their all, which is what you want to see as a coach, and it makes me proud to be theirs. Mostly, they all enjoyed themselves, which was the whole reason we started this program in the first place."
Dible also mentioned that, although Storm Lake ended up with a fair number of goals, Alta-Aurelia's goalkeeper, Ben Sand, had an "amazing save percentage." For the (unofficial) record, Cory Ballantyne scored the first two goals in Alta-Aurelia soccer history.
Alta-Aurelia's second game was on April 24, when they took on the Spencer JV in an exhibition match in Spencer. The weather was much more spring-like that afternoon, almost summer-like, in fact, with sunny skies and a record-setting high temperature of 89. The game was played at 6:30, though, so it was bearable.
Alta-Aurelia ended up losing the match against Spencer's JV by a 4-1 score, but Coach Dible felt it was "a very good game," and he was extremely proud of how the A-A squad played.
"You can see a drastic change in their ability to understand the game," said the Alta-Aurelia coach after the match, "and their determination is really what allowed them to play a good game against a great opponent."
Alta-Aurelia's goal was scored by Manny Murillo, and A-A's goal keeper Ben Sand had another outstanding game, as did the Warriors' captain/center midfielder Kevin Hernandez.
The Warriors got on the winning track with a 2-1 win over the Sheldon club team, then scored a 6-1 victory over the MOC-FV JV team and a 2-1 win over South O'Brien's club team. They met the Sheldon club team again on May 8th in a home game, played on the football field at Alta, and the Warriors played their best game yet, capturing an 8-1 win over the Sheldon club.
In the final game of their inaugural season on May 15, 2012, the Warriors met the Cherokee Soccer Club in Alta on a warm day and lost a close 2-0 match.
All in all, not a bad first season for the pioneering Warriors.
Here was the opening day roster of the first Alta-Aurelia soccer team:
Manny Murillo, Jacey Solko, Junior Molina, Kate Carlson, Ben Stange, Taylor Stevicks, Kevin Hernandez, Jacob Baxter, Christian Witzel, Caleb Hogge, David Schmidt, Maria Condelaro, Luis Placido, Bryan Hernandez, Cory Ballantyne, Ali Held, Nate Titus, Santiago Razo, Neal Felten, James Curbow, Brandon Glienke, Kellan Bell, Ben Sand.
Ange Rehnstrom, Ally Zarr (Managers), Will Dible (Coach)