The only Big Rivers Conference team that finished ahead of Hudson in the standings this season was Eau Claire Memorial. And the conference champion Old Abes were the only team to have more players named to 2019 All-BRC teams as well.
Eight Raiders were recognized by the conference coaches, including four on the first team and five repeat selections, when the postseason honors were announced Thursday, Nov. 7.
Kolton Prater, Cole Ober, Nick Thompson and Corey Denning were all named to the All-BRC First Team and Sam Ross earned second team honors while Teig O’Kelly, Joey Grikis and Braedon Miller received honorable mention. Prater was the BRC Co-Player of the Year in 2018 while Ober was named the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year after earning first team honors a year ago.
Other repeat selections include Denning, who was a second team goalkeeper in 2018 before switching to midfield this season, Thompson, another second team selection a year ago, and O’Kelly and Ross, who were both honorable mention picks a year ago.
The Raiders posted a record of 17-4-2 this season, 10-1-1 in the BRC, and notched the 500th win in program history with a 4-1 victory over Rice Lake Oct. 4. Hudson has a record of 506-309-76 since the first season of boys’ soccer in 1979. Only Middleton has won more games among public schools in the history of high school soccer in Wisconsin.
“It says a lot for all of the past players who contributed over the years, and to the community supporting soccer since before it became a varsity sport in 1979,” Raider coach Steve Sollom said. “We've had a lot of great soccer players come through here over many years and they have also become great coaches for the next generation of Hudson High School players as well.”
The latest batch of great players to come through the program headline the 2019 All-BRC teams, including four-year starter and two-time first team pick Prater. Prater, who also earned All-State honors in 2019, had 12 goals and 14 assists this season despite missing two weeks with an injury. He’ll be heading to UW-Green Bay to play for the Phoenix next fall.
“He’s been the best player in the conference the past two years,” Sollom said. “He gets special attention from every team we play. He's a great finisher and dominates in games.”
Sollom called Ober and Thompson the “Dynamic Duo” of the Raider defense. Both are three year starters who have helped the Raiders hold opponents to an average of 0.8 goals per game and 24 shutouts over the last two seasons.
“Ober is a very sound technical and physical defender, while Thompson has great speed and vision for passing and dribbling,” Sollom said.
Ober will play soccer at St. John’s University next fall while Thompson is undecided.
Denning moved to midfield this season after being a second team all-conference goalkeeper a year ago and was rewarded with a spot on the 2019 All-BRC First Team.
“We had the luxury of having several good keepers behind him and felt Corey's impact at the defensive midfield position was more important as he prevented a lot of shots from getting through to the keeper,” Sollom said. “He did a great job there and was recognized as being a key part of our success by the other coaches.”
Denning will play goalkeeper at Gustavus Adolphus next season.
Ross had five goals and eight assists this season as a junior to earn a spot on the All-BRC Second Team after receiving honorable mention a year ago.
“Sam is a deceptively good midfielder,” Sollom said. “He looks small and skinny, but plays physical and fast. He made a lot of teams pay for focusing too much on Kolton Prater.”
O’Kelly rotated between center forward and outside back throughout the year, in part due to injuries to other players as well as being injured himself for a couple weeks. The junior ended up with six goals and six assists, with most of those coming when he was up top.
“His work rate is phenomena, and he just wears people out with his relentless hustle,” Sollom said.
Grikis also played both defense and forward this season and Sollom said he came on like “gangbusters” while O’Kelly was out.
“He had an astounding 14 goals and two assists playing forward for only half a season,” the coach noted.
Miller capped his third year on varsity with honorable mention recognition, and Sollom said he couldn’t be happier for the senior.
“He's played the left back spot the past two seasons, and done a great job of simply defending the other team's best forwards most games,” Sollom said. “He also has gone three seasons on varsity without a yellow card, which says a lot about how he plays the game.”