Thursday, May 23, 2024

Cashmere Soccer training through summer for post-season hopes


CASHMERE - Rising senior Zoe Brown and her soccer teammates have big goals for the fall 2022 season and they are willing to put in the work over the summer to reach those goals.

“We want to go to state, especially that is my goal for this year,” said Brown. Brown is an accomplished three sport athlete, playing basketball in the winter and softball in the spring. She has gone to state in softball and

basketball, but never in soccer. “I mean, for me personally, I have never gotten to go to state with our Cashmere [soccer] team,” she said. “So, I think it would be fun to even get to state. I mean, obviously we would like to win state too. But I mean, even just getting there is a huge accomplishment and that’s my goal for sure.” Last year, the team did not go to state, narrowly missing a berth with their 1-2 loss to Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) in their bi- district meet. The team was ranked #1 in the WIAA 1A State RPI rankings, but a tough loss in overtime meant Cashmere did not go to state.

The team would have had to win that match to advance to the preliminary rounds of state, said head coach Dennis Tronson. “[Our district] only has five teams. We do not have an automatic berth into the state bracket. So, we have a crossover game with the NEA league out of the Spokane area,” Tronson said. Cashmere soccer’s district is the Caribou Trail League, which is identical to their league. The top two teams in CTL district play the top two teams in the NEA district and the winners of each of those games qualify for state, Tronson said.

Although Cashmere didn’t make it to state in 2021, they were fierce competitors, with a 14-4 overall and 8-0 CTL record, having secured both league and district titles. Then senior Carley Diaz was named 1st team All-State as well as the 2021 Caribou Trail League Player of the Year. Then senior Gennevieve Ledesma and then junior Ava Courtney were named 2nd team All-State Despite losing those All-State players, Cashmere still has plenty of talent this year.

Tronson believes his team will go to state. “I do think we can [qualifyfor state]. I think we have that opportunity. It’s right in front of us. But again, you go to playoffs after district and the region we play in is extremely difficult in that the defending state champions are in our region,”he said.

Rising seniors Kaitlyn Bjorklund and Courtney are captains this year.

Bjorkland has her hopes set on the state tournament.“I think our team has some good chemistry. And so, it will be fun to see where that takes us,” Bjorklund said. “My goal is to make the state tournament. That’s been our goal since I was a freshman, and it would be awesome to have that opportunity.”

To Bjorklund, being a captain is a “super fun” role. She said that she likes to keep the team organized, lead the team, and help the team as much as she can. Bjorklund is a three-sport athlete, playing basketball in the winter and track in the spring. Both Brown and Bjorklund said they would like to compete collegiately. Bjorklund is opento playing any of her three sports in college but would like to play basketball. Brown said she wants to continue playing all three sports in college, but she isn’t sure if that is possible.

The whole team is working hard to reach those goals. The girls meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-8:30 p.m., to practice technique, gain fitness, and scrimmage. On July 14, the team worked on drills, ball technique, and passing before playing a continuous scrimmage. The girls were split up into three teams, pink jerseys, raspberry jerseys and blue jerseys. Two teams would play quick matches, with the losing team moved to the sidelines and the winning team continuing to play until they lost. The field of play was smaller than a regulation size field to encourage strong technique, quick teamwork, and decisive play.

“Coach, why did you have two pink teams,” a player asked between matches. “It’s not pink, it’s raspberry,”Tronson replied. Tronson tried to split up the teams to vary ability, with freshman and upperclassmenchosen for each team. Throughout the matches, he encouraged the players to make goals quickly and work together. “The game goes by fast,” he said. The girls took a water break at 8 pm, but their work wasn’tover. With summer already halfway done, the soccer season is on the horizon, and in August the WIAA does not allow official team practices when school is not in session.

Tronson said as many as thirty girls come out to summer practice, with 18 to 22 normally attending. Tronson also coaches boys’ soccer at Wenatchee High School, but he said that girls know how to “be trained”. He said that girls are enthusiastic about training and are open to learning from their mistakes, while boysare focused on competitions and brush off mistakes. A member of the Cashmere community for 34 years, Tronson has built a legacy of success in soccer. His players have had post high school success, from playingin community college to being starters at the Division I level. But overall, by coaching quality athletes, Tronson is trying to create quality people.

He stresses academics; Tronson said his teams have been academic state champions in the past and are normally among the best academically in the state. School comes first, soccer is after that. “Family first. Academics second. Soccer is third for us during the season. It’s always family, always school,” he said. Soccer doesn’t need to be the girls only sport. Tronson said he “truly believes” in the multisport athlete because it reduces injury and burnout. He said that he has had discussions with Olympic champions, and they are all high school multisport athletes.

Cashmere may have future champions as well. In ninetydegree temperatures, the sun began to lower on the horizonof the July 14 practice, the hard work signaling future hometown champions.


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