@PrepSportsRep – CornerKICKSMedia.com
Dunlap sophomore Brayden Hunt tried not to lose his gameface.
As his teammates swirled around him following the first game the Eagles played at the BODYARMOR Series – Boys Soccer (Chicago) at Olympic Park in Schaumburg, Hunt stayed composed amid a chaotic scene during the junior-varsity tournament.
Dunlap set the tone for a memorable Labor Day by winning their first game in the large one-day showcase, putting underclassmen on a large stage.
Then between games, the Eagles started getting ready to glam for the cameras and pick-up some free merchandise.
Hunt said the two-plus-hour bus ride was a small price to pay for getting the rare opportunity to compete in a high-level underclassmen tournament against quality competition.
“I’ve never played in anything like this, especially with all the different teams,” Hunt said. “We came so far.
“We haven’t traveled this far to any of our games. This is more than I expected with the free drinks, too. It’s really cool, and I had a lot of fun.”
Hunt admitted he would love for the chance to play in the main varsity event, which is held each September. The varsity field kicks off Sept. 10 with more than 100-plus schools competing in front of college coaches, media and playing schools and meeting people they never would have otherwise.
“That would be really cool,” Hunt said.
Dunlap junior-varsity coach Kyle Kinnary said this is the first time any team from the program has participated in the distinguished event.
“We have a pretty good younger group, so we really wanted to test ourselves and find as many games as we could,” Kinnary said. “We also have a lot of guys, so we’re trying to load the schedule up. This seemed like a good opportunity.”
Even though the junior-varsity version of the BODYARMOR Series was a toned-down version in comparison to the varsity event, Kinnary said the impeccable fields and numerous quality teams from throughout Illinois created a big-time atmosphere for his players and helped prepare them for the Mid-Illini Conference.
“This is very different for us,” Kinnary said. “We play on grass at our high school or middle school really.
“We do sometimes play on turf, but only one or two games a year on turf. One school in our conference has turf, so this was a nice tune-up for us when we go there.
“It’s nice to see all these different games. I like this setting and the turf makes it a lot better.”
Bio on reporter: Bob Narang has been covering prep recruiting and sports for the past 28 years. His work also appears in the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and the DeKalb Daily Chronicle.