Thompson, Taite Named Murrieta Mesa Athletes of Month

From left: Football coach Justin Schaeffer, Mateo Thompson, Taylor Taite, cross country coach Aaron Ballou. One of the stars of the school&...

From left: Football coach Justin Schaeffer, Mateo Thompson, Taylor Taite, cross country coach Aaron Ballou.

One of the stars of the school's 4-1 football team and a standout cross country runner were the first Murrieta Mesa High School student-athletes honored this school year with Murrieta 24/7 Athlete of the Month awards.

Mateo Thompson and Taylor Taite received a certificate and gift card from Murrieta 24/7, sponsors of the award. They were selected from Athletes of the Week honored in the month of September.

Thompson holds the school record with a 53-yard field goal, kicked twice this year. He also has kicked a 52-yarder and consistently puts kickoffs out of the end zone.

Also a soccer standout, Thompson says football is actually his favorite. He doesn't play another position on the team but enjoys getting psyched up on the sidelines as he waits his turn to make an impact on the game.

"There's no secret to it," he said. "It's just a matter of working hard. I've played soccer my whole life; it's more technique than power."

Thompson's coach, Justin Schaeffer, said having a kicker with Thompson's range adds an extra dimension to the team's offense.

"Mateo is very composed; he doesn't feel pressure in situations," Schaeffer said. "His ability to handle that situation helps make it an easier decision.

"It's comical to see teams on the other side preparing for the kick to fall short, putting a guy back to return it. We know otherwise. That thing's either going through the uprights or way deep into the end zone."

Taite won her race in the prestigious Nike Desert Twilight Invitational with a time of 18:19 in Arizona. She finished 26 seconds ahead of the second-place runner to help the team finish sixth overall.

"We're doing really well," Taite said about the team. "We're starting to peak our mileage in our works, then we'll go back down."

A senior, Taite plans to study mariner biology in college.

"Taylor's very competitive," said her coach, Aaron Ballou. "You can see it even in practice. She won her race in Arizona easily; she had the lead after one mile by quite a ways."


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