The Thomson Middle School soccer team -- coached by Julie Gerlach and community volunteer Ed Bettross -- recently brought the school its second championship in as many years. The coaches attributed the accomplishments to team effort and individuals stepping up when called upon.
The TMS soccer team began its season in March at Washington County in close to freezing weather. One goal resulted from TMS knocking the ball in its own goal. Washington County scored again in the final two minutes to record a 4-3 victory and a disappointing start for the TMS team.
Members of the TMS soccer team pose with their trophy.
However, the season ended on the same field with a 3-2 victory over Washington County on April 12 to clinch the Super Eight Championship with a record of 8-1.
The team's first challenge of the year was the conflict between the high school spring football practice which involved some of the middle school players and affected preparation for the season.
In a preseason scrimmage, the team's leading scorer, Jay Bieltz, sustained a broken arm. In mid-season, several key players were slowed down by the flu or injuries.
The coaches said when problems came up, team members rose to the occasion, playing new positions and filling in for starters. Coach Bettross and Coach Gerlach continued to tell the players that dedication and hard work are always the keys to success.
This team's offense was led by play setter Matthew McEver as well as Dustin Gunby, Jay Bieltz, Aaron Messick on offense with Jautabitha Hordens and Whitney Hillman, among others backing them up. When opponents keyed on one player, the offense shifted its attack.
The defense was led by goalie Steven Thompson and other key defensive players, Holly Barker, Blake Usry, Katie Austin and Michael Thompson.
Most of the players this year will move on to help the high school program.
The team has a few returning seventh graders, but there will be many spots to fill on next year's team.
The coaches hope that students who want to be on next year's team will become involved in recreation soccer as well as participate in TMS cross county to prepare for next year's season.