WICHITA, Kan.—The Wichita East boys’ soccer team has started the season under new head coach Dylan Gruntzel and earned a win against Hutchinson on Sept. 3.
“The first (few) weeks have gone very well,” Gruntzel said. “We have a total of 56 boys out this year, the most since 2003.”
“The morale is high and all teams are working hard to achieve both individual and team goals,” Gruntzel said.
Last year the team ended the season with a 5-12 record. Gruntzel said that his year a goal for the team is to become the first boys’ soccer team at East to make it to the state tournament.
Gruntzel, along with his assistants, tore apart the entire previous program and started from scratch. New fundraising, on-the-field formation tactics and the actual choosing of the teams themselves were among the changes.
“It has worked out so far and we are hoping for continued success as we start our season,” Gruntzel said.
The coaching staff is composed entirely of East High soccer alumni.
The team boasts four captains. Three are seniors and one is a junior: senior Hermelindo de la Cruz, senior George Depew, junior Jacksen Peterson and senior Jonathan Alvarado all believe they can lead the team to victory.
One of four team captains, Depew, has found confidence under new head coach Dylan Gruntzel.
Depew appreciates what coach Gruntzel has done for the program thus far, giving the team “a new perspective.”
The first few days of practice were solely focused on “scrimmaging and getting the team together and making sure that everybody was in shape,” Depew said.
Gruntzel worked hard to ensure that each player “had the best chance to make all the requirements needed for varsity,” Depew said.
Depew’s fellow captain, de la Cruz, has taken note of the positive changes as well.
“We’re not lazy anymore,” Alvarado said. “This year is more of a challenge.”