Soccer: Iowa's Elite
By BRANDON HURLEY
One of the most electrifying seasons in state history has been rewarded.
The residual effects of Greene County’s record-breaking run should be felt for years to come. A various smattering of postseason awards will forever keep the remarkable spring forever etched in school lore. The latest honor is another in a long line of firsts.
Junior Gutierrez was named to the Class 1A all state first team by the Iowa High School Soccer Coaches Association last week, paving a new path in the Greene County record books. The prestigious distinction is the first such honor in school history. Leo Marques earned an all state honorable mention selection one year ago thanks to his then school-record 36 goals.
Gutierrez shattered a number of school records and was on the precipice of breaking an all-time single season Iowa mark. The junior tallied a state-best 55 goals in 20 games, by far the highest total across all classes. He scored at least three goals in 11 of Greene County’s 20 games this year.
The junior compiled the third most goals in a single season in Iowa high school history. Des Moines Christian’s Ben Webster holds the top mark with 62 goals in 2018 while Iowa Falls-Alden’s Marcos Vila tallied 61 goals in 2017. Gutierrez had a 10 goal lead over Marion’s Jaffer Murphy, averaging 2.7 goals per contest.
He also set the Iowa single game record by scoring nine goals in a win over Panorama May 13 in Grand Junction. Sioux City West’s Antonio Hernandez was the previous record-holder, scoring eight goals in a game back in 2015. The electrifying Gutierrez helped power the Rams to a school-record 107 goals, the second most in Class 1A this spring, the third most in the state and the eighth highest total in state history.
AHSTW (114), Columbus Catholic (111) and Greene County were the only three teams to crack the century mark this spring.
In two years, Greene County has scored 183 goals, the top two-year mark in Iowa.
Gutierrez holds the all-time Greene County career mark with 74 goals, with a full season left to go. The Iowa record is 131 goals by Fairfield’s Solomon Constant. Theoretically, Gutierrez could crack the top four, as Murphy sits fifth with 85 career goals while Webster is fourth with 99. The slick-footed magician also tallied 13 assists, which ranked him fourth in Class 1A.
Greene County reached its first state tournament in school history this spring thanks to a school-best 14 wins.
Gutierrez was joined on the all state first team by AHSTW’s Seth Kiesel, Adrian Herrera and Brayton Tuma, Treynor’s Luke Mieska, Regina’s Alec Wick, South Tama’s Johnathon Castrejon, Columbus Catholic’s Saw Win Lin, Solon’s Bennet Meier and Luke Yetley and West Liberty’s Gabriel Seele.
Step back from the names for a moment and one may notice AHSTW placed five guys on the all-state teams, including three on the first team.
Though the Rams only garnered one honoree, they waxed the Vikings, 5-2 in the substate final, securing the monumental state tournament berth.
Greene County was matched up against perennial power Iowa City Regina in the state quarterfinals, a daunting task that the Rams were certainly prepared for. They took the Regals to overtime, eventually falling, 2-1. Regina went on to capture their third straight state title and ninth in history (most ever), defeating Waterloo Columbus in the championship game.
There’s no telling how much better Gutierrez can get with a year remaining of eligibility. He’s coming off his first full season as the Rams’ main offensive weapon, a few more months handling that load and head coach Carl Behne believes the youngster can bolt even higher.
“I think for him, it’s two-fold. One, continue to work and build with the guys around him and get more comfortable with some of those through balls,” the coach said following Greene County’s state tournament appearance May 31. “Then, he needs to stay positive and not let this outcome (a loss in the state quarterfinals) change the work and the passion that he has for the game.”