Related stories: Rivalry at its Best
Emily Cope and Natalie Bohlmann never had the chance to do anything else.
The two rising sophomores at their respective schools were born into the Battle Mountain-Steamboat Springs soccer rivalry and each is one of the best players on her team.
“We’ve always been really good friends with the Bohlmanns,” Emily Cope said. “But it wasn’t until this year when I saw (Rob) was coaching against us. That’s when it hit me. That’s the Steamboat coach. That’s the enemy. I always knew. But I just put it together.”
It doesn’t take a day browsing the paper’s archives to realize what the rivalry has meant to both schools and this part of the state.
And for at least the next three years, that rivalry will include two darn good soccer players.
Both were all-league players their freshman year while playing with and against girls much older.
Any onlooker could tell the two were born to play the sport their fathers love.
Emily Cope and her father, Dave, watch World Cup, English Premier League and European Cup games together. Often times, she takes losses harder than her dad.
Natalie Bohlmann has a wide smile, but if anything defined her freshman year on the field, it was her relentless and physical play. It’s apparent her father’s competitive streak didn’t skip a generation.
“I get pretty aggressive,” she said. “I’m really competitive. I just want to win. I guess I’m a little more like my dad when it comes to that.”
And through club play, camps and now high school, the Cope-Bohlmann rivalry is going strong.
“We want to beat Steamboat and Rob and Natalie now, too,” Emily Cope said.
The feeling is mutual. Natalie Bohlmann admits playing in the rivalry has brought her competitiveness to the next level.
And if there was one win on the schedule for next year, what would it be for Natalie?
“Oh, Battle Mountain, of course.”