Ravell Call, Deseret News
OGDEN — Avery Calton has a knack for reconstruction.
In the future, she wants to become a reconstructive plastic surgeon, working to improve the lives of burn victims and those born with cleft palates.
Currently, the Ogden High School senior is wrapping up her stint as the Tigers' attacking midfielder, a position from which she helped reconstruct the Ogden soccer program.
In her freshman and sophomore years, the Tigers won a total of 10 games and did not make the state playoffs. In a dramatic turn of events, Ogden soccer amassed a 33-game winning streak and lost just three times over the past two seasons. In 2011, the Tigers won the 3A girls' soccer championship — for just the second time in school history — and they advanced to the semifinals this past season.
Calton was terrific in her senior season, both as a scorer and as a team leader. Her numbers were some of the best in the state, she was the driver that made the talented Ogden offense tick — and now she has earned the state's most prestigious individual high school soccer award. She is the Deseret News' Ms. Soccer award recipient for the 2012 season.
"My coach (Jason Steiner) called and told me and I ... I just couldn't believe it," Calton said of learning she is this year's Ms. Soccer. "What an honor to be included with those great soccer players that have earned it (before me)."
Calton is a four-year letter-winner, a two-year team captain and totaled 43 career goals at Ogden, including the only score in last year's championship match against Cedar City. As a senior, she led her team to the only perfect regular-season record in the state, a final record of 17-1-0, and its second consecutive Region 11 title. She had 18 goals, 15 assists, and five times scored the game-winning goal — including twice in the playoffs.
"She has been so clutch over the years, including this year in the playoffs," Steiner said. "She is the attacking mid that makes our offense work. Our offense goes through her."
Calton led her team to big wins during the regular season, too. The Tigers defeated Northridge, a 5A semifinalist; Bonneville, the 4A state champion; and St. Joseph, a 2A finalist, in the first three matches of the year.
"If I had to pick any player in 3A to be on my team, it would be Avery," Steiner continued. "She is very technical with great vision. She is able to split defenders like it is nothing, and her work rate is incredible — she runs non-stop. She is an incredible girl, and I honestly think she is the player that most helped their team in 3A."
As she sat on the steps in front of Ogden High, posing for pictures and answering questions, Calton was decked out in a letterman jacket covered in pins and awards, and she had on two championship rings.
"These are for the team titles," she said, referring to the soccer championship ring on her right hand and the track championship ring on her left hand. "And, this past track season I won the 800 (meters) and our medley relay team won the relay."
The girl was born to run. Calton began playing soccer when she was 5 years old and instantly fell in love with the non-stop aspect of the game.
"I loved playing with the girls, the competitiveness of the game, and the continuous play. There is no stopping like in other sports," she said. "I love how you could just run and run and run."
She quickly found her place on a club soccer team, the Utah Avalanche, and hasn't stopped playing since.
"Everybody was the best on the team, there wasn't a standout," Calton said of her club team, which has a roster full of some of the state's best high school soccer players.
"When we were little, we played in a boys' league and they made us play in a girls' league again because we beat them all," she added with a laugh.
On top of soccer and track events, which have included the two-mile, the one-mile, the 800- and 400-meter individual races as well as the 800-meter leg of the medley relay, Calton also participated in cross country at Ogden High for three years. A stress fracture over the summer forced her to choose one fall sport for her senior season.
She chose soccer because that is the sport she will continue to play beyond her high school career. Last October, Calton committed to play for BYU and says she is looking forward to beginning that next chapter.
"After visiting other colleges around the country, I fell in love with (BYU) and knew that was where I am supposed to be," she said. "I have had no regrets (since committing), and I can't start getting ready soon enough."
Amidst all of her athletic endeavors, Calton is also a good student and has been preparing for the academic rigors of college as well.
"I love learning. I think taking hard classes that challenge you are the best thing," she said. "Going to a hard class is something I look forward to."
Her plan is to earn a degree in French and then pursue medical school. She is following the footprints her father, who graduated with a degree in Spanish prior to taking the MCATs.
Before beginning on that path, however, Calton still has the rest of her senior year ahead of her. And, with a lot of thanks to her experiences on the soccer team, her high school career has been a successful one.
"I love the girls on the Ogden team. They're my sisters; we have so much fun together and we have since we were freshman," she said. "Being able to play high school (soccer) with all of your friends who go to school with you, it takes the team aspect to another level. Playing in front of your city, what an honor that is; and going out and playing against rival schools, I think that's such a fun thing."
Calton is also grateful for the coaching staff, which "created the most intense, educational, team-building environment I have ever had."
Engraved on the side of Calton's soccer championship ring is the number 497. It is the total of all of the jersey numbers from that title team added together, and it is a constant reminder of the team unity the Ogden Tigers embodied the past two seasons.
"I owe so much to the girls and how they contributed to the team chemistry, how much everyone worked so hard and weren't selfish and were genuinely proud of each and every one of the girls," she said. "It was a mutual feeling of pride and love for one another."
"I loved high school soccer," she added, with a huge smile. "It was good to me."
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