CHESTERTOWN - Over the past decade, North Warren High School has been forced to battle the odds in its sports programs, because its declining enrollment. North Warren is now one of the smallest schools in the Adirondack League.
But regardless of this formidable obstacle, Cougar athletes have prevailed - the soccer program has enjoyed considerable success, garnering regional attention for the school.
In 2007, the boys soccer team won the Adirondack League championship and continued their victories into the Section II finals.
Thursday, John Remington - one of the stars of the Cougars' 2007 and 2008 seasons - stood on the sidelines of North Warren's soccer field In 2007, Remington was the Adirondack League's top scorer, and last year, he tallied 32 goals. Watching the 2009 players run lengths of the field, Remington offered his assessment.
"Seeing how they hustle, they'll be all right," he said.
Coach Jason Humiston, responsible for building North Warren's outstanding soccer program, stood at the side of the field, urging the soccer players to run their fastest.
"Be first, be first, be first," he yelled.
Watching the players sprint, Humiston predicted that the 2009 team would have its share of accomplishments.
"We're young, but we can compete," he said. "We have good team speed and a good solid core defense back from last year."
That defense, Assistant Coach Jeremy Whipple said, includes skilled Sophomore goalkeeper Christian Seeley. Plus there's sweeper Tom Hanaburgh, who has unsurpassed physical strength and is a relentless worker, the coach said.
"Tom's our last line of defense," Whipple said. Then there's Curtis Breuer, who Whipple said is a vocal leader.
"You can put him anywhere on the field, and he knows what to do."
The team also has a strong field of Juniors, most of whom were Varsity players last year. This group includes Joe Aiken Brian Beckler, Greg Dower and Thom Pereau.
Whipple said the Cougar soccer players were working extremely hard, and the had the spirit and determination to take on any challenge.
"They've been through the battles, and they're going to do what they can to keep our winning tradition alive," he said.