Ask Highland boys soccer coach Lloyd Siegendorf for a game or play that best exemplifies what goalkeeper Hayes Hicken means to the program, and the answer comes before the question is finished.
“Box Elder, in last year’s quarterfinals,” Siegendorf said. “He blocked three PKs [penalty kicks] in a row. That was the game right there, in overtime. To block one is a big deal, but three? [RSL’s Nick] Rimando can’t even do that.”
Hicken, now in his third year as the starting keeper for the Rams, helped Highland to a 12-4-1 record a season ago and notched seven shutouts along the way. This year, the senior blanked Judge Memorial in last week’s season-opening 1-0 victory.
The morning after the Rams’ first defeat of the season last week, Hicken was hard at work retooling and refining his techniques with goalkeeper coach Zach Petersen, who was in goal for Layton’s state title run in 2003.
Petersen said what sets Hicken apart from others in the field is his work ethic.
“He’s very dedicated, always asking questions on what he can improve and how he can become a better leader on and off the field,” Petersen said. “He’s just a great overall athlete. He brings the dedication he has for all the sports to soccer and all the kids look up to him.”
Added Siegendorf: “Not good, but great work ethic. He’s out here working hard. He’s out here playing and practicing six days a week.”
Working to get better is all Hicken knows. Except for the occasional week off in the summer, he has been playing sports year-round for as long as he can remember.
Hicken, a Tribune All-State second-teamer in soccer last year, also plays receiver, cornerback and kicker for the Rams’ football team, and is a role-playing small forward on the basketball team.
“In the summer we get like a week break and then we start lifting again for football,” said Hicken, who was also The Tribune’s second-team kicker in football last fall. “In the summer, there’s always football camps and basketball camps going on. So there’s not really much of a break. But it’s fun.”
He has a state title in football – the Rams claimed the 2010 crown – but that level of success has eluded Hicken in soccer. Last year, the Rams reached the Class 4A semifinals. In 2010, they were bounced in the quarterfinals.
The road to a state title this season appears long. The Rams lost 10 players to graduation from a year ago, and return only two starters. The goal to start is winning the school’s first Region 6 title since 2009.
“First off, we want to make playoffs,” said Hicken, one of the team’s captains. “Then we want to take region, and then we want to take state. The goal is the same, but the team is definitely different. We need to gain experience.”
Beyond that, Hicken’s future is uncertain. He said his favorite sport is whichever one is in season, and he has yet to commit to pursuing one at the college level.
Athlete for all seasons
• Highland senior Hayes Hicken is in his third year as the starting goalkeeper. • Hicken is a three-sport athlete, lettering in football and basketball.
• He says his favorite sport is “whichever one is in season.”