Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Thunder Mountain High School boys soccer team will defend their Falcons Field home pitch for the final time this season at 7 p.m. tonight and for the Falcons seniors it will be their last match on the field where they earned their wings. A special senior appreciation ceremony will be at 6:30 p.m., prior to the team taking their side against visiting Juneau-Douglas.
The seniors commented on what they have learned from losing a season to the coronavirus pandemic last year and playing limited games this year as COVID lingered around the league, and what they would improve upon for themselves.
Koneal Laguidao will study at UAS next year. His favorite food is Philly cheese steak, favorite movie “Finding Nemo” and favorite book are the “Big Nate” comics.
“What I learned this year is basically the whole game of soccer,” Laguidao said. “I got the privilege to learn the game of soccer under a lot of great leaders and teammates this year. I am very thankful for the teammates I have and what I learned and what I have grown on today. One thing I would work on about myself is about the game of soccer, I would like to use as much as I can. I definitely want to learn more about the game and get better at it so I can use it in the future and continue on with my love of the game.”
Trevor Guesno plans to attend Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. His favorite food is steak, favorite movie “Star Wars: New Hope” and favorite book “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”
“I learned about confidence and mentality,” Guesno said. “You really just need to be positive and you just need to think you are the best and then you will be the best. One thing I want to improve about myself is my self confidence. I need to work on that. I wish I could be more confidant.”
Lucas Erickson will be attending Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. He is a burger enthusiast. His favorite movie is “Avatar” and favorite book “Harry Potter.”
“I learned a lot about overcoming limitations and how to work through things in a pandemic or a trying time in our life,” Erickson said. “I think I would improve my work ethic. I would definitely try a lot harder at a lot of things.”
Richard Hayes will be attending Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. His favorite food is Pork Katsu, favorite movie is “Space Balls” and favorite book “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
“I didn’t really do much to be honest,” Hayes said. “I definitely learned that it is all about how you think about things. If you come in with a negative point of view you are not going to get very far. If you come in looking pretty positive with a positive upbringing you will get a lot farther in life. If I could look back and change one thing I think I would be more outgoing. I wasn’t a very outgoing kid when I was younger, it took a lot to get into things.”
Logan Miller will be attending Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, Oregon. His favorite food is Pad Thai, favorite movie “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” and favorite book “Calvin and Hobbes.”
“I learned how to stay motivated and persistent even when nothing was going on,” Miller said. “It was important to be trying to motivate yourself. I would have a more positive outlook on bad situations or tough times.”
Meki Toutaiolepo will be serving a full time mission for his church after graduation. His favorite food is Pel Meni’s pelmenis, favorite movie “Holes” and favorite book “Green Eggs and Ham.”
“I learned a lot this year with playing the game of soccer and teamwork,” Toutaiolepo said. “One thing I would look back and change is motivating myself to work harder.”
Elias West will be attending Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington to study engineering. His favorite food is mac and cheese, favorite movie “War Dogs” and favorite book “Garfield.”
“I learned that you have to enjoy every bit of time that you have because you don’t have that much of it, especially with COVID and stuff,” West said. “One thing I would improve about myself is I would talk to more people and make more friends.”
Gavin Gende will be attending the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. His favorite food is moose burger, favorite movie “The Hobbit” and favorite book “Eragon.”
“I learned to take nothing for granted and to work hard when you can,” Gende said. “With this senior year I wish I didn’t procrastinate as much, it made things a lot harder when they didn’t need to be.”
The Thunder Mountain senior Falcons soccer players (l-r) are Meki Toutaiolepo, Richard Hayes, Logan Miller, Elias West, Trevor Guesno, Koneal Laguidao, Gavin Gende and Lucas Erickson. They will be honored tonight at 6:30 p.m. on Falcons Field prior to their match against Juneau-Douglas. (Klas Stolpe)