By Shawn O’Brate
RIVERTON – This past Tuesday May 31st you may have seen a couple firetrucks blaring their sirens down Main Street with a group of children waving off the top of them. That’s because three teams that are part of the Riverton Youth Soccer Association finished the state tournament in Casper last weekend as outright champions.
That’s right, the 8U boys gold division, 10U girls gold division, and 14U girls gold division all won the gold medals in the final tournament of the Spring season and were honored by the town of Riverton with a firetruck ride.
While waiting outside the fire station for the big, red trucks to come out and honk their horns the kids that sported their gold medals and Riverton jerseys exclaimed how happy they were for the small parade of sorts.
“I’m really excited,” Cassie Bulow said before jumping on the firetruck.
“Oh my gosh we’re so big,” said one of the 8U boys as they stepped up to the top of the emergency vehicle.
They weren’t the only ecstatic ones about the fun ride to help celebrate their respective teams though.
“It’s state, it’s kind of a big deal,” said Terrayne Kintzler, coach of the U10 girls champion, “If they win the championship we feel like that’s big.”
Those 10U girls really worked their tails off this season and it showed with the amount of hardware that the team was able to bring back to Riverton over the course of the season.
“They played really well,” Kintzler said of her team, “We got second in the Riverton [Rumble] tournament, after that we were champions of the Big Horn cup in Sheridan which is a huge tournament, almost bigger than our state tournament. Then we were champions in Cody and now they’re champions of state. ”
Talk about success, the U10 girls’ team did not seem to be fazed throughout the season which might be one of the main reasons they were able to join the 14U girls and 8U boys on the firetrucks Tuesday.
Those 8U boys gold team, coached by Melissa Gold, had been through some heartaches over the season with multiple tournament championships lost to teams that they had already beaten in the tournaments.
“The kids’ hearts were completely dedicated and into this,” coach Gold said, “I feel like I didn’t even need to coach. The kids wanted it, I didn’t have to push them at all. ”
Those 8U boys have become “like brothers” since the beginning of the season, “they’re comradery and passion for every single thing showed on the field,” Gold continued.
Now, as champions, the 8U boys were able to ride the firetrucks down the main street.
“It was like the world had come to a complete stop,” coach Gold exclaimed, “It was more exciting than telling them I was going to buy them ice cream. They were so excited. ”
The U14 girls also dominated their season which made coach Kintzler believe “there’s a bright future for girls especially in soccer”.
Those girls, coached by Jeremy Mejorado, have risen through the ranks under their coach since they were seven and with it all paying off before many of them enter high school to play for the Lady Wolverines it was a solid ending to the season and club soccer for some of them.
“They were excited,” Mejorado said, “with everything they got going on in their lives they were thrilled to be honored like this.”
The team was not only dominant throughout much of the season, winning their division in the Riverton Rumble and Cody Shootout, but they pulled out the win without their starting centerback who got hurt in the second half of the game prior to the championship.
They also were able to pull out that win against the Sheridan gold team, a team they were very familiar with after they met in multiple championship games this season.
“It’s been a tough battle all year with that Sheridan team,” coach Mejorado said, “to beat them for this was huge.”
Overall the community, the parents and the rest of the coaches were all what made these children and their smiles atop those firetrucks possible.
“It’s really big for Riverton, it’s nice to see,” coach Kintzler said, “there’s a lot of heart and soul and blood, sweat and tears put into our practices and playing so it’s fun to come out and be able to win and celebrate. like this. ”
The celebration was also possible due to one of the Riverton coaches, Brady Patrick, whose step-son’s team was unable to win the championship. Even though he was unable to put them on top of the big, red emergency vehicle he still wanted to help put on the best show possible for the kids who did bring back gold medals.
“I just really think Brady, who supports Riverton and does so much for Riverton, needs to be acknowledged,” coach Gold said, “he’s the one who made it happen for our kids to get recognized the way they did.
With Patrick helping the teams celebrate the best way possible it was surely one of the best days for the kids and their families who followed the trucks from behind as they waved to the Riverton community that has supported them throughout the season.