Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
WILLIAMSPORT — When Chloe Tanler first stepped foot on Westfall’s soccer field, she wasn’t quite sure how the next four years were going to play out.
Tanler had spent the past several years as a club soccer player, honing her skills against top-notch competition on a day-to-day basis. But immediately upon entering the high school ranks, she found herself entering a program that didn’t have a history of winning, an established culture, or even an identity.
But instead of opting out of playing, or transferring, Tanler did the only thing she knew how to do … she became a leader.
“I came in my freshman year being the only club player besides Madalynn Yates. I was skeptical of the team,” Tanler said. “I wasn’t used to the skill level. I knew right then that I had to be a leader and I tried to build the team’s skills and confidence.”
It worked like a charm.
Tanler helped transform the Mustangs’ program into a viable district title contender. In 2018, Westfall’s girls won their first-ever sectional title before hosting their first-ever postseason match this fall.
Over the past two seasons, the Mustangs own an overall record of 19-13-1 … a drastic turnaround from the two previous years.
“The other seniors and I have pretty much been the backbone and leaders of the team,” Tanler said. “I hope they can carry on our legacy as we start to head out the door. I’m fully confident they will.”
Tanler’s career has now come to an end and, in reflection, she can say she accomplished some pretty cool feats. For starters, she leaves as the school’s all-time leading goal scorer with 70.
“I am so blessed to have broken the school records for goals. I have really focused on getting better at my shooting technique,” Tanler said. “Of course, I couldn’t have done this without my teammates. Each one of them are so motivating and they taught me a lot of things about myself.”
The aforementioned sectional title win came in a 2-1 victory over Peebles on Oct. 16, 2018. When asked to choose, she identifies that night as the favorite moment of her career.
“We won in the last minutes of the game,” she said. “I cannot describe the feeling of winning [that sectional title]. [Westfall coach Devin Schoonover] couldn’t have been more proud of us.”
This season, Westfall bowed out of tournament play following a 2-1 loss to top-seeded Alexander. It marks the second year where the Mustangs have ended their season by a one-goal margin … in 2018, they lost to Wheelersburg by a 1-0 final in a district semifinal.
They’re hoping next year is the year they can get over the hump and play in a district final. Tanler has the utmost confidence in the program to do just that. While she’ll be watching that, hopefully, happen from a distance, she’ll still be just as big of a piece to the puzzle as any.
Out of all of the goals and all of the wins, her greatest accomplishment may have been laying the foundation, brick by brick, for Westfall’s soccer future.
“They are a great group of girls and are willing to learn,” Tanler said of her teammates. “For my fellow seniors, they’re family. We’ve been together since freshman year and we’ve learned and grown together. I wish the team luck next year and I’m so confident in every one of them.”
While her soccer career is over, her high school career in general still has some sand left in the hourglass. She’s hoping to enjoy the rest of her senior year and focus on what’s next to come.
But make no mistake, soccer is almost certain to be a part of her plans.
“I’m planning on going to a four-year college to study business,” Tanler said. “I haven’t committed anywhere yet. I’m still deciding on where I want to play.”