LARAMIE, Wyo. - Kaitlyn Lomsnes was a cowgirl before she became a Cowgirl.
She loves horses. She loves playing soccer too.
Those passions make her a very special young lady. So special, in fact, that as a freshman for the Cowgirls Lomsnes leads the team in goals scored with six, including three last weekend. She has been a major reason why Wyoming is second in the Mountain West heading into this week's competition (at Fresno State on Friday and at San Jose State on Saturday). Additionally, the Cowgirls are a perfect 5-0-0 at home and with one game to go (CSU on October 31), could become the first Wyoming soccer team in school history to post an undefeated home season.
One of head coach Pete Cuadrado's prized recruits, Lomsnes is a native of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, who fell in love with Laramie and UW the moment she arrived for her recruiting visit. She knew Wyoming was the place for her.
"My home in Canada looks a lot like this area-wide open spaces with mountains all around," Lomsnes says. "I love horses, rodeos and space. This was just the absolute best fit for me. I love it here!"
"We knew it would be a challenge to recruit Kaitlyn," Cuadrado says. "She was recruited by some 50 schools. But we started recruiting her early and I think she was impressed by what we could do for her in her major of veterinary medicine. Seeing a lot of horses on her recruiting visit didn't hurt us. When we recruited her we knew she could be a good scorer. We didn't know when, but we knew it would happen, and it has happened. We are excited to have her."
According to Lomsnes the only thing missing from her Wyoming experience is her horse Pixie. "I really miss having her here. She's a great friend." But Kaitlyn plans to bring her buckskin quarter horse to the high country when she returns next summer for her sophomore year. "It's hard not having her here, but my plan is to bring her when I come back next year. When I found out I could board her here for about $75 a month instead of $400 back home, it made the decision a lot easier."
As with any freshman, there was a definite period of adjustment to the college game early in the season for the young forward. It didn't start very well for the Cowgirls either as they began the season with a 1-4-0 record. "It was an adjustment. No doubt," says Lomsnes. "I had trouble with the altitude for a while, and it gets me every once in a while even now. But it was the level of play that was the most difficult adjustment. I thought I had been playing soccer on a pretty good level in Canada. But here EVERYONE is good. There are no weak players. It's highly competitive and takes a lot more focus and intensity."
After that shaky start, Lomsnes and the Cowgirls have been playing much better soccer.
"We have really come together, and bonded well," she says of her teammates. "Our transition of taking a good game plan and carrying it into the competition has been excellent. I give our coaching staff a lot of credit. We have had a tough schedule (14 of their 20 games this season will be on the road), and we have had some challenging stretches. But the coaches kept us together, and working hard. I think we have come a long way."
Six of Wyoming's last nine regular-season games are on the road. The Cowgirls have a difficult stretch coming up with four-straight road games, at Fresno State (Oct. 17), at San Jose State (Oct. 19), at San Diego State (Oct. 24) and at New Mexico (Oct. 26).
Lomsnes' Canadian hometown is located halfway between Edmonton and Calgary. If you are not a hockey fan in that part of the world folks there wonder about you. The location pretty much dictates a passion for the sport. Lomsnes certainly has a passion for it. She borders on irreverence, however, because she loves the Chicago Blackhawks, not a team in her province. She has played hockey competitively, and while it didn't unseat soccer in any way, she respects and loves the sport.
"In Canada a lot of women play a very similar sport to hockey called ringette," she says. "I played and really enjoyed it. But when it came down to a choice, soccer is my sport."
Lomsnes is a three-year member of the Canadian National Training Program. She has played for Team Alberta and has been a member of the Team Alberta Provincial all-star team since 2009. In short, she has played for a number of regional teams and has won her share of championships. Her ultimate goal is to play for the Canadian Olympic team.
Depending on how that plays out, Lomsnes has another sport in mind. "One day I hope to rodeo," she says with a big smile. "I want to barrel race. It's competitive and gives me the opportunity to work with horses. I definitely plan to do that someday."
With her love for horses, it's not surprising that Lomsnes is a pre-veterinary major and hopes to concentrate on large animals. Her mother, Lisa, is a veterinarian. "I want to be able to work with animals, and help them primarily concentrating on equine nutrition and exercise. I want to get involved in recommending diets. But I want to help animals, large or small, and this is a great path for me to take. I really appreciate and respect what my mother (Lisa) does. She's always there to help."
Kaitlyn Lomsnes has certainly been there for the Cowgirls, and it's only the beginning. Her future should be something to see.
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