Athlete of the Week: River Westcott

Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 11:54 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A consistent kicker is one of the most valuable assets a high school football team can have, one that the team can consistently rely on to put points on the board and flip the field on kickoffs. The Warriors have found that in Junior Kicker River Westcott.

In the Warriors 28 - 7 victory over the Palisade Bulldogs, Westcott went four for four on Point after attempts, as well as handling kickoff duty. But according to her, that may not even be what she was most proud of in that game.

" I also got my first tackle that game. So, I felt really, really good about that one. And everybody was really excited. And I feel like it just really helped the team. And I just, I just feel a lot more accepted now knowing that I can do things that they can do,” Westcott said.

Westcott is not the typical athlete, you would likely picture as a high school football player, and she had an interesting path onto the football field.

“I was at a school assembly and my mom works at Central. So, she just like knows all the staff. And the athletic directors had texted my mom and they were like, hey, we know that river plays soccer. We were wondering if she could kick a football and I was like, there is no way I’m doing that. Like, that’s horrifying.,” Westcott said, “Later hat day, Brandon Milholland came to me, and he gave me a football and a PAT pad. And he said, ‘do this and come back to me on Monday.’ So I was like, okay, and I came to Central and I kicked a little bit and I was really, really good at it. And so I was like, only live once, so I just decided to do it.”

On top of learning a high-pressure position, Westcott also had to face the challenge of jelling with an all-male team.

“I love my team personally, they’re really really supportive. And I just really, it was kind of weird fitting in last year. Like in the beginning like I was really awkward, but they just kind of welcomed me and I just I really enjoy playing with the boys, it’s just a wonderful team,” Westcott said.

When it comes to on-field opposition accepting her, Westcott said it can sort of be a mixed bag.

“I either get like really positive responses or I’ve had some negative responses but mostly it’s just like people saying that it’s like really cool what I’m doing and I’m really brave and that it’s just really cool that I’m just playing a male dominant sport and showing other people that they can do it,” Westcott said.

Westcott also says she gets very special recognition off the field.

" I’ve had a lot of girls come up to me like little tiny girls and they say that like they want to be like me and I just think that that’s the coolest thing. Like just having little kids looking up to you and saying I want to be exactly like you,” Westcott said.

Now Westcott and the Warriors turn their attention to their cross-town rivals, the Grand Junction Tigers. Westcott will potentially kick off that game at Stocker Stadium at 7:00 p.m.