No. 7 Arvada West boys ready to kick off season

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 9/4/19

ARVADA — Arvada West senior Judah Johnston is going to be a marked player on the soccer pitch this season. Johnston returns as one of the top goal scorers in Class 5A. He found of the back of the …

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No. 7 Arvada West boys ready to kick off season

Posted

ARVADA — Arvada West senior Judah Johnston is going to be a marked player on the soccer pitch this season.

Johnston returns as one of the top goal scorers in Class 5A. He found of the back of the net 17 times last season on the way to being named the MVP of the 5A Jeffco League.

“I think he (Johnston) is even better,” A-West coach Troy Gette said of the Wildcats’ leading scorer from the previous two seasons. “He also has a better supporting cast around him this year. I think he set the expectation bar high after what he and the team achieved last year.”

Johnston has racked up 37 goals and 16 assists in his first three seasons at A-West. His goal is to play college soccer and has had talks with the University of Portland, University of Denver, Regis University and Colorado School of Mines.

A-West — ranked No. 7 in the CHSAANow.com 5A boys soccer preseason poll — went on a eight-game winning streak toward the end of the season to reclaim the conference title from rival Ralston Valley. That included a five-goal game by Johnston in a 6-1 victory over Dakota Ridge in October.

The Wildcats and rival Mustangs have dominated 5A Jeffco over the past decade.

“I thought we took big steps forward last year,” Gette said reflecting on the Wildcats finishing with a 13-4 record and being the lone 5A Jeffco team to advance to the second round of the state tournament.

The Wildcats’ season ended with a close 1-0 loss in the second round to eventual 5A state champion Arapahoe.

A-West has plenty of returning talent on its roster that is senior and junior dominated heading into its 2019 campaign.

“The heart and soul of this team is returning,” Gette said. “We lost some keep pieces, but hopefully some young kids can step up and help fill some pretty important roles.”

The biggest loss on paper is the graduation of starting goalie Latham Kleckner, who allowed just 15 goals last season in 16 games. Kleckner also record 10 shutout victories in net.

“Of course it’s a concern. Last year, Latham Kleckner was just phenomenal,” Gette said. “I do think the defense will be even better up front.”

Junior Jacoby Landskov will take over in net. Landskov is making the step up from starting JV goalie last season.

“Jacoby stepping up from JV, after a couple of games and practicing he’ll get into the swing of things,” Johnston said.

A-West began its season Aug. 26 at the North Area Athletic Complex. The Wildcats beat Standley Lake (1-1 record) by a convincing 5-1. The team also beat Mountain Range by a score of 2-1 on Aug. 28.

“The opener is definitely important. It gets the season rolling,” Arvada West junior Kyler Tate said of the Wildcats opening up the season at the NAAC against area-rival Standley Lake. “We have to go hard every game and play our best.”

Tate, a first-team all-conference selection as a sophomore, will be one of the keys to A-West making another strong run in the conference to get the highest seed possible for the state tournament.

“We are just trying to get Jeffco recognized. We aren’t going to take it for granted,” Tate said. “We are still going to try hard to win the league and make it further in the playoffs this year.”

Dennis Pleuss is a media specialist for Jeffco Public Schools with a focus on athletics and activities. For more Jeffco coverage, go online at CHSAANow.com

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