When the HHS girls soccer team beat R.A. Long Oct. 18 for the league title, it was more than a win for the team. It was also a win for Wyatt.
The team has dedicated its season to Wyatt Draper, a 5-year-old from Ridgefield who has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.
“Now that we have that emotional connection to him, it makes it a lot more special to play and to win,” said soccer team captain Brooke Grosz.
Wyatt is the son of Tyler and Sara Draper, who went to school with HHS soccer coach Joe Chicks in Ridgefield.
“I thought it would be a good way to get our girls involved in something bigger than sports and giving back,” Chicks said. “Some things are more important than just soccer. This puts things in perspective.”
When the team warms up before matches, they wear “Warriors for Wyatt” T-shirts. Before each game begins, they say, “Let’s play for Wyatt.”
“We play for each other, we play for our community—but we also play for Wyatt,” said Brooke, who is a junior.
Technically, the team has one league game left, Oct. 23 against Woodland. But even if they lose, HHS will retain its No. 1 ranking in the 2A Greater St. Helens League.
“They’re a really talented group of players,” Chicks said, “but I think a big part of their success is they’re willing to put the team above themselves. When you’ve got the talent and the right attitude, it makes for a special season.”