Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley
Sports@lhvc.com 

Student-Athlete of the Week: Josh Palomares

 

September 7, 2018

Jocelyn Rowley

Senior Josh Palomares has been splitting time this season between the soccer and football teams.

When Niwot head football coach Jeremy Lanter came to him last month looking for a strong leg to shore up the Cougar special teams, head soccer coach Stephen Dimit didn’t have to think very hard about who to recommend.

“I immediately thought of Josh,” he said, referring to defender Josh Palomares, a first-year varsity player for the Cougar soccer team. “He can just blast the soccer ball, and I thought, well a football is just shaped a little differently, so let’s see what happens.”

Dimit’s intuition proved correct, even though Palomares later admitted he “had no idea how to kick a football.”

“I didn’t even know there was a stand or anything,” he said, recalling his first attempt at a field goal. “I thought it just stood on the grass. But Coach Lanter had me kick from 35 yards, and it was a good kick. So he called all the other coaches over, and I did it again.”

He has been impressing the football coaching staff ever since. Now, he routinely splits the uprights from up to 55 yards in practice, and has added punting to his repertoire.

“The kid’s a natural,” Lanter said. “We have to back up our kick-off ten yards just so he doesn’t kick it out of the end zone.”

Palomares turned heads during the Cougars’ season opener against George Washington on Aug. 24. Though the right-footer did not get a chance to try any field goals, he had two kick-offs for 94-yards, and three punts for 158-yards, including two that pinned the Patriots to their one-yard line. In the Cougars’ home opener the following week, Palomares suited up in the fourth quarter after playing 80 minutes of soccer against Skyview and had two punts for 30 yards

“When I was little, I used to play goalie and I always had punting competitions,” Palomares said of his surprising new talent. “Being able to punt for my school is really cool.”

Palomares is also enjoying success in his role on the Niwot backline. In three games this season, the newly configured Cougar defense has allowed just one goal per game, matching the 2017 average.

“I played with Carter [Kruse] and Daniel [Cho] before on JV, and we get along really well, we talk, we communicate really well,” he said of his co-defenders, who are also new to the varsity squad in 2018. “For a fresh start with a new defense, I think we’re doing really, really well.”

After graduation, Palomares has been eyeing the Air Force, and then a career in the medical field. However, if he is able to duplicate 50-yard kicks in a game situation, he will likely attract attention from collegiate programs, another intriguing idea for the senior.

For now, soccer remains Palomares’ primary sport, and he is committed to helping the Cougars repeat their deep playoff run from a year ago. At the same time, he is relishing his role with the emerging Niwot Football program. Though he hasn’t had a chance to attempt a field goal during a game yet, he is eager to prove himself to his coaches, fans, and teammates. Palomares is also eager to help the program that has been so welcoming of a newcomer.

“I really enjoy football because of the teammates,” he said. “They really encourage me. They really bring my spirits up and make me feel like I’m part of the team.”

 

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