Hillcrest High still champions in unified soccerNov 01, 2022 08:09PM ● By Julie Slama
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
While Hillcrest High Huskies may not have won the state unified soccer title, they are still champions on the field.
Playing on Real Salt Lake’s home field after Miss America Emma Broyles sang the national anthem, Hillcrest High fell short of beating Tooele High Oct. 4 at the second annual Show Up for Unified Sports Special Olympics State Soccer Championship game. They lost in the overtime shoot-out, 2-1.
The players were congratulated with second place medals in their division by Broyles, Miss Utah Lindsey Larsen, Utah’s First Lady Abby Cox and RSL goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
Unified soccer, a program of Special Olympics Utah in partnership with the Utah High School Activities Association, allows student-athletes with and without disabilities to play on the same team.
While the teams are coed and play competitively five versus five on a smaller sized soccer field, the focus is on development of skills, friendship, understanding and sportsmanship as often players on either team will cheer for one another.
Hillcrest began its season playing at a regional tournament at Riverton High Sept. 20 before competing in the state playoffs Sept. 30 where they qualified for the state championship. The state championship game was the only game the team lost this season.
Hillcrest junior Kori Carmona, who missed playing in the state championship game because of injury, cheered her team on from the sidelines.
“I like having fun and having helpers on the team,” she said. “We’ve become friends and they’ve invited me to join them in other things and clubs. We have a very supportive team, and we have the best coaches.”
The team also was cheered on by student body officers, varsity cheerleaders and at every game, by the school’s chapter of Latinos-in-Action.
From more than 30 high school unified soccer teams in the area, 16 teams advanced in their respective divisions to the state championship games and participated in the parade of athletes.
Other area high school teams that competed in the soccer championships or playoffs include Alta, Brighton, Jordan, Hunter, Murray, Riverton and Skyline.