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High school boys soccer: 7 Bengals reveal college plans

The Brighton boys soccer team did something on Wednesday afternoon that is fairly uncommon in the world of high school sports. No, they didn't win their third consecutive state championship, though that is a goal that could come to fruition in the upcoming season.

Rather, teammates, coaches, parents and friends sat back and watched as seven seniors signed letters of intent, committing to continue their soccer careers at the collegiate level.

"It's pretty special," said Kim Loomis, the master of ceremonies and father of Thomas Loomis, one of the boys who will play college ball in the fall. "Seven young men, one high school. It's pretty amazing to me when usually it's ones and twos from all over."

After their senior season at Brighton, the seven boys will head out to five different schools throughout the West. Adam Hughes and Dane Nielsen will be playing for a premier Division II program at Cal State Los Angeles, while Austin Nate and Jordan Hatanaka will be at Cal State Dominguez Hills, the 2008 Division II national champions.

Forward Taylor Peay has chosen to play for the University of Washington, where he will major in physical science.

"I visited a few schools and, academically, Washington was just a good fit for me," Peay said. "Soccer-wise it was good, and it just fit my personality and what I wanted to do."

Nathan Stoven will remain in Utah where he will play at BYU for a season, serve an LDS mission, and then return to finish his soccer career.

Like four of his current teammates, Thomas Loomis will also be out West, attending Cal State Fullerton. "I wanted to go to California: great weather, great place to be," he said. "They have a great soccer program so I know I'll be playing against great competition ... a tough game every single time we play."

Along with sporting the Bengal blue and orange, these seniors have also spent the previous four years playing club soccer together for Inter FC. The club team has had great success, capturing Utah state titles three of the past four years, recently upsetting the top-ranked team in the country, and rising to a Top 20 position nationally.

"The club side of soccer, where these guys spend a significant amount of their time, has had a significant impact on their ability to play soccer and move on to the next level," the elder Loomis said.

After so many years of playing soccer together year-round, Thomas Loomis said it's unbelievable for the group to now sit and sign their letters together.

"We're all best friends so to be able to share this experience, it's just an amazing feeling."

He did, however, admit it's going to be strange to step onto the field next year without those boys.

"It's going to be sad. We'll still keep in contact, but we're just going to have to accept it and move on and do bigger and better things, Loomis said.

"I'm proud of their accomplishments. They're winners, they've won a lot of games. But I'd particularly like to acknowledge their accomplishments in the classroom," said Brighton head coach Russ Boyer, noting that each of these state champions is also on the honor roll.

Among all the excitement over graduation and the next step, Boyer was also sure to remind his players to also keep their minds on the present: "We have some unfinished business here before all of that happens."

e-mail: sthomas@desnews.com