FAIRMONT, W.Va – The Fairmont Senior boys soccer team didn’t see the 2021 season come to an end in the way it would have liked, falling in the state semifinals.

That was a pretty big disappointment for the Polar Bears who had taken home the last two Class AA/A championships.

As Fairmont Senior takes on the role of the hunter rather than the hunted this year, the mindset is a little bit different when it comes to the pursuit of the mountaintop again.

“A little bit more hungry. We talked about it yesterday. Like I said, it didn’t end the way we wanted it to,” head coach Darin Paul, “I think the boys have come out with a little bit of an edge. Not to say we took last year for granted but coming out on top the last two years prior then last year, we kind of have unfinished business this year.”

The foundation for the Polar Bears doesn’t start between the lines but with the team’s conditioning, something Paul has driven home over the first week of practice.

There’s a learning curve during that process with some of the new faces but even as the Polar Bears attempt to replace all-time leading goal scorer Bubby Towns up top, there’s an expectation that the returners are prepared to take the lead and the underclassmen are ready to follow.

“Of course we lost Bubby from last season. He was one a very good goal scorer. One of the best players in the state, probably the best but this year coming back, I feel like a lot of guys will step up,” midfielder Kaelen Armtrong, “We have a lot of experience still on the team and the younger classmen will definitely take a leap.”

Fairmont Senior boys soccer begins its quest for the fourth state championship in program history on August 19th on the road in Beckley at Woodrow Wilson and will play its home opener on the 27th last year’s sectional championship opponent Frankfort.