DENVER — While football is relegated to the turf, kickers have their sights set a bit more elevated.
After making the switch from soccer to football his sophomore season, Mullen High School kicker Wilson Yee now has big aspirations for his new sport.
"I'm using it to put on my resume for the Air Force Academy," Yee said. "Hopefully I play football for them, as well as take a four-year education."
It's a path Wilson knows won't come without dedication, practice and passion, and it's one he's working hard to achieve. If it sounds like his head is in the clouds, well, that's because most of the time, it is.
Wilson is in the midst of earning his private pilot's license, a journey into the world of aviation that started on his 12th birthday. His father took him to the Centennial Airport, where he was told they were going to have lunch and watch planes take off and land. Wilson knew something was up when they went out to the runway, and his father's pilot friend started readying the plane.
"He pulled out the keys and tossed them right at me and said, 'Let's go flying!'" Yee said.
Nearly four years later, the now junior is approaching 45 hours in the cockpit. Earlier this summer, he completed his first solo flight. The plan is now to have enough hours and classes recorded to get his license by his 17th birthday in December.
"I'll have to pass a series of check-rides and exams to do that, along with becoming even more proficient in the airplane," Yee said.
Juggling being a student-athlete, along with flying has proven to be turbulent at times, and Wilson has had to put one on hold before.
"I'll be able to fly later in life, and playing football and going to high school is one of those one time things I won't have forever," he said.
But no matter, he's always found a way to soar, and Wilson's final approach is still far off on the horizon.
"All the struggles on the ground and everything that's going on down there, it's down there now and I'm up here," he said of flying.