Through the first month of the high school soccer season it seemed like a Cody sweep of Class 3A would be a sure thing.
The girls were undefeated and the boys were on the top of the standings until the final hurdles preceding the state tournament.
Back-to-back losses shook the boys’ confidence while the girls were hit with their first loss of the year in the regular-season finale.
Still, through all of the shuffling, both teams found themselves as the last ones standing at the end of the season and completed the school’s first ever soccer sweep at the 2017 Wyoming State High School Soccer Championships in Sheridan.
For the Broncs it was a season of history repeating and picking up from where they started.
“All that matters is that we ended well,” Cody goalkeeper Zach McIsaac said. “We knew that we could forget everything that happened before us and finish how we started, and that’s what we did.”
The repeated history by following in the footsteps of first-year head coach Kory Jansma, who brought the program their 2011 championship as a senior. During that championship season the Broncs started out hot before dipping into a rut, just like how they had a stretch of one win in four games this year.
Thanks to big performances from McIsaac and versatile senior John Varian, the Broncs then hit their stride.
Varian tied Torrington’s dynamic sophomore, Nathan Stitt, for the second-most goals in Class 3A with 19. Three of those goals came in the state tournament.
McIsaac led a staunch defense that shutout opponents in the semifinals and finals.
“(Class) 3A this season is one of the toughest and nobody knew who was going to win,” Jansma said. “It was one of those seasons where everybody had a shot at it.”
On the girls side, the race for supremacy was slight more assumed.
Week after week the Fillies welcomed a new challenger and sent those same opponents off the field with a loss.
Then came the stumble against Star Valley, which cast a question mark on how the team would perform. But the nearly two weeks without a match did Cody wonders and they used that loss as motivation.
“That loss I think was probably the best thing for our team,” girls head coach Marian Miears said. “That loss to Star Valley really woke us up.”
The high-powered offense, led by senior Hannah Bailey’s class-high 26 goals, never slowed down. Bailey netted three goals in the state tournament.
But the forward didn’t do it alone. The Fillies scored from all angles and overwhelmed defenses even when the senior was on the bench.
Sophomore McKayla Moss had 11, junior midfielder/forward Jules Novakovich scored 10 and freshman Moran Heydenberk added nine. Not to mention junior midfielder Genevieve Sauers, who scored six goals throughout the season including the game-winner in the championship match.
Combined, the Fillies ruthlessly tested goalkeepers and seized the championship with a driven focus.
“Our team came up with the motto of ‘Be greedy to win and play with no regrets,’” Bailey said. “That’s how we played and we did not letdown in our intensity through all of our games.”
Cody resumed the trend of sweeps in the Class 3A soccer championships, but it was just the first time that the school accomplished the feat. Jackson swept back-to-back seasons but moved up to Class 4A this year, opening the door for their competition.
Just as sweet as the sweep may be the brief droughts that both teams ended.
The Broncs hadn’t won the championship since Jansma’s senior campaign in 2011 and the girls’ most recent was the following year.
“We haven’t won since 2012,” Sauers said, “so it feels amazing to get a second title.”
While next season is a long way off, that didn’t stop the possible new 3A power from looking ahead.
Losing the majority of their starters to graduation, the Broncs have a major hill to climb in hopes of doing what Jackson did last season.
As for the Fillies and their dominant season, that may be a sign of things to come.
“We’re going to lose about 13 seniors for next year for boys,” McIsaac said. “It’s going to be kind of rough. The girls will still be very good and hopefully the guys can keep it going.”