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Tri-sport athlete dons mascot suit

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Haun contributed to soccer, football teams at same time

By Ron Benningfield

Not only is Bo Haun a LaRue County High School athlete who plays soccer, football and tennis, he also goes “undercover” as the LaRue County Hawk — the school’s mascot.

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Haun, a junior, describes his time in the Hawk outfit in two words – fun and hot.

“The old suit was actually a little hotter than the new one which has a small fan that at least blows air on my head,” Haun said. “But I’m soon drenched in sweat after I put the suit on, and sometimes I step outside to take off the Hawk head and cool off.”

He doesn’t seem to mind the heat, however, so long as he can warm up fan support.

“That’s my purpose for being out there, to dance to the music and try to get the student section involved in cheering our team on,” Haun said.

The junior also warmed up the action on the football and soccer fields this season, an unlikely sports combination because both run concurrently.

“Both Coach (Rodney) Armes (football) and Coach (Chuck) Holloway (soccer) have been very cooperative in allowing me to play the sports,” said the straight A student.

As a kicking specialist for the football team, his daily schedule found him practicing his kicks for about an hour each school day on the football field before joining the soccer team in practice for another couple of hours.

Haun said he has been playing soccer “my entire life.” Being in a military family which necessitated frequent moves, he played on teams in Texas where he was born as well as Kansas, Tennessee and even Germany.

“I like the teamwork required in soccer,” Haun said. “It’s one sport that you really can’t play as an individual, plus it requires you to be in shape because it’s mainly non-stop action.”

Moving to LaRue County as a sixth grader, he played youth soccer the first year LaRue fielded a high school soccer team. He joined the Hawks high school team as an eighth grader.

On every team he has played, Haun has always been a goalie, likely because of his skills — good hands, quick feet, ability to see the entire field and to make fast decisions.

Some aspects of football proved to be a little challenging, however.     

When football coaches asked him if he would be interested in kicking for the team earlier this season, he readily agreed, but found it took awhile to adjust from one sport to the other, especially on kickoffs which he began doing after the regular kicker was injured. 

“In soccer, the ball is on the ground when I kick it while it’s on a tee on the kickoff and that tends to lift it into the air higher,” he said. 

On point-after-touchdown attempts (he made 37 of 41), he credited his holder, Anthony “Smurf” Myrks for his success.

“Timing is the most important part to it,” he said. “Smurf’s got the hard part of getting the ball down; all I do is kick, starting my motion when the ball is about midpoint between the center and the holder.”

“I watched on television how the pros kicked the ball and tried to copy their style,” he added. “Before kicking a PAT, I stepped back two big steps and then two small steps to the left.”

Like clockwork, he began his forward kicking motion with a small left step followed by a right step, then planted his left foot and kicked with his right.

Sometimes things didn’t go as planned, however.

“One night it was raining, the field was muddy, and, on the first step I took, my left foot started sliding,” he said.

To this day, he doesn’t know how he recovered and was able to kick the ball through the uprights for the point.

With football and soccer seasons over, he’s already into conditioning - distance running and agility sprints - in preparation for his next sport, tennis.

Haun and his partner Brent Gozzard were seeded in the 5th Region Tennis Tournament last year, and advanced to the quarterfinals.

“This was Bo’s first year competing on a consistent basis at the varsity level,” said his tennis coach Chris Estes. “He used his athleticism and skill level to become, with Brent, one of the premier teams in the region.”

When asked which sport he preferred, Haun paused a second before answering.

“I guess it depends on what season it is, because I like all three about the same when I’m out there playing.”