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One N.M. Player of the Year deserves another

FLC soccer – this time the men – lands another enchanting recruit

For the second consecutive day, Fort Lewis College soccer signed a younger sibling – a younger sibling that also happens to be a 2012 New Mexico 5A Player of the Year from La Cueva High School.

FLC men’s soccer followed in the FLC women’s soccer program’s footsteps by signing Luke Lawrence on Friday to a national letter of intent. Lawrence is the younger brother of Skyhawks’ soccer player Zac Lawrence.

Luke Lawrence is a reigning N.M. Player of the Year.

On Thursday, the FLC women’s program signed Courtney Riley, the younger sister of Skyhawks’ soccer player Lauren Riley. Courtney Riley, too, is the reigning N.M. 5A Player of the Year.

“We are very committed to get the best U.S. talent that we can, and his signing shows our commitment to that process,” Skyhawks’ head coach Oige Kennedy said in a news release to The Durango Herald.

Lawrence, a 6-1, 175-pound forward, is a four-year letterwinner, three-year starter and two-time state champion (2009, 2012). He led La Cueva to a runner-up finish in 2011 and the state semifinals in 2010. He’s a three-time all-state performer.

Lawrence also led his club side, Rio SC 95 (2012-13) and New Mexico Rush 95 (2007-12) to five state championships. He was the camp MVP at the Skyhawks’ Academy.

“Luke is a player that we began tracking a long time ago, and we are extremely proud to be adding a player of his quality to our 2013 squad,” Kennedy said. “He has a very high technical ability, a knack of scoring goals and is also a good physical presence in the attack.

“He is a natural fit for the type of soccer we are trying to produce here, and we feel there is no limit to what he can achieve at our program. Luke has shown that he can score goals at the club and high school level, and we are confident that he can continue that trend in the college game.”

Earlier in the day, FLC signed a Nordic skier and a track and field star.

Garrett Bullough from Park City, Utah, also is pretty good at soccer, too.

The FLC men’s soccer program announced the signing Friday afternoon, two days after national signing day.

“Garrett is a player that we feel can really develop over the next few years and become a strong player for the program,” Kennedy said.

Bullough is a 5-10, 155-pound defender/midfielder. He’s skied at the regional, state and national levels, and he won back-to-back state titles in the 400-meter dash. Two years ago, he finished runner-up at the Utah state meet in the long jump.

Bullough was a four-year letterwinner and two-year starter for Park City High School, earning a pair of regional championships. He played club soccer for the elite Juventus Premier and was a four-year member of Utah’s Olympic Development Program.

“He works very hard at his game and displays a real drive and desire to continue his improvement at the college level,” Kennedy said. “He has great pace and is a natural athlete that will develop quickly in this learning environment. Pace is a hugely important component of a college soccer player, and Garrett’s speed and athleticism are two things that he has displayed to us when we have seen him play.”

Bullough is smart, too. He was attracted to FLC not only for its national championships but its science program; he plans to study chemistry, math and physics at FLC.

“I’ve always been interested in science since I was a little, tiny kid,” Bullough told the Park City Record earlier this week. “It’s hard, but it’s rewarding as well.

“They’re a powerful program. I’ve always dreamed about lifting that college trophy, and their program is just as prestigious as any DI program.”

FLC has won three DII national championships, two under Kennedy in four years, and have finished runner-up twice.

Bullough and Lawrence are the second and third of a handful of recruits that FLC plans to sign in the coming weeks. They join Malik Badawi, a 6-3, 170-pound forward/midfielder, in the Skyhawks’ 2013 recruiting class to date.

heraldsports@durangoherald.com