By: Shawn O’Brate

LA JUNTA, CO – The Central Wyoming College (CWC) men’s soccer team, after finishing the 2022 regular season with a record of 4-11-1, traveled to Colorado this past weekend to compete in the first round of the Region IX playoffs. 

CWC finished the season with a conference record of 2-5-1 and ended on a good note as they won three in a row before losing to Casper College in Casper in the final game of the year. On Friday they were tasked with the challenge of facing Otero College on Otero’s home field in La Junta. 

The Rustlers lost to Otero in La Junta earlier this season by a score of 4-0 and knew that the team was one of the toughest teams in the Region IX division. 

Sophomore Josiah Trimble chased down a ball at CWC. (p/c Carl Cote)

Early on it was apparent that the Otero Rattlers’ skill was above and beyond what the Rustlers could contain. They worked the ball around the field with ease for much of the first half, scoring two goals by the time halftime came around while the Rustlers could only muster up two total shots on the goal in the whole game. 

It was a physical game throughout the afternoon with yellow cards handed out to nine separate players, five of them to Rustlers’ players. 

After halftime was over the Rattlers would continue their work on the field, finding the back of the net two more times before the final horn to end the game 4-0 once again. 

At the end of the season the two coaches of the Rustlers and Lady Rustlers’ team looked back on the year at hand with some positives. For starters the men’s team set a program high for overall wins and Region IX wins, something that Coach Steven Harrison said was a goal earlier in the year during pre-season warmups. 

“The program is headed in the right direction from when I took over,” Coach Harrison said after the game. “We let a couple of games slip away during the regular season that I wish we could have back. The off-season will be crucial to keep developing our players on and off the field.”

Sadly, the Lady Rustlers were unable to play their final six games of the season but there is hope that next year will be even better than their 2-7-1 finish this year. 

Congratulations to the boys and girls on a fun season filled with some serious talent on the field! GO RUSTLERS!