‘Freshman Line’ leaves lasting legacy at Cibola High School
After each high school hockey season, coaches generally reflect on the positives from the season and the team’s senior class.
At Cibola High School, the Cougars graduate three seniors and linemates this year in Tylec Kohlrust, Garrett McKinstry and Marcus Trujillo, a trio that was dubbed the ‘Freshman Line’ four years ago, and the name stuck.
“This talented trio has been in the top of the league in stats all four seasons and finished this season as the top three in the league (Rio Grande High School Hockey League),” said Cibola coach Brett Lovette. “These guys have amazing chemistry, wreak havoc for opponents, and are fun to watch. They are not only talented hockey players, but they are also fine young men who do well in school and lead by example for their teammates.”
McKinstry served as team captain this year and recorded 64 points (30 goals, 34 assists), while Kohlrust, an assistant captain, tallied 67 points (38 goals, 29 assists), and Trujillo, the second assistant captain, added 66 points (27 goals, 39 assists). They are all four-time All-Stars, have helped their team win three straight league championships from 2016-18, and have won multiple league awards throughout their high school careers.
“It’s often been joked that we share one brain,” laughed McKinstry. “The New Mexico Hockey Association is pretty tight, and we have all had the same circle of friends for over 12 years. Hopefully, we can generate more interest with the younger kids so they can benefit from the same positive experiences I’ve been privileged to enjoy.”
All three graduating seniors have plans to attend and play hockey next season at the University of New Mexico for the Lobos.
Trujillo called the last four seasons with the Cougars “a pleasure.”
“We all enjoy playing with one another and it made us friends for life,” he said. “It was a blast with these two by my side every minute, even winning the state championship three times in a row. The chemistry was always there, and from the first time our coaches put us together in practice, we just clicked. We continued to dominate as a unit and it really showed whenever we played a tough team.”
“Playing on the same line for all four years was a real experience,” added Kohlrust. “In the beginning, we were good, but as time progressed, we started to gel more as one single mind. Our chemistry grew every day that we played together. We acted as one unit and that’s why we came out on top. No selfish plays.”
Moving on next year will be an adjustment, but one the players are looking forward to.
“I’ll miss all my teammates,” said Trujillo. “We had a great bond together even if it consisted of road trips, playing Uno or all the inside jokes we had with one another.”
“Most importantly, I’ll miss talking about our memories from freshman year,” Kohlrust said. “That was my favorite year.”
Trujillo also noted that hockey is continuing to grow in the Land of Enchantment.
“Hockey has been progressively expanding throughout the state, including high school,” Trujillo said. “There is a lot of young talent coming in from the younger divisions, as well as the new NAHL team (New Mexico Ice Wolves) that is coming in next season. The NAHL team will really put New Mexico out there, causing more people to be interested in playing hockey.”
Kohlrust is equally excited to see the game trend upwards in the state.
“Hockey will definitely continue to grow, especially with the new ownership at the Outpost,” he said. “New Mexico hockey will be on the map.”
— Matt Mackinder
(May 9, 2019)