Rarely is a team unsatisfied with winning a league championship but Arvada West had been there and done that.
The Wildcats have won three consecutive 5A Jeffco league titles, which is an incredible feat. However, A-West also has three early playoff exits over that time and their coach Troy Gette is tired of his season ending sooner than he would like.
“I am pretty sure the rest of the league is getting tired of us winning league titles,” Gette said. “And while we are proud of those titles this season we want to be a more well rounded team ready to make a run in the state playoffs.”
While the Wildcats would love to have a fourth straight league crown, this season their ultimate goal is to make a run at a state championship.
Last season, Arvada West was upset in the first round of the state tournament by No. 22 Liberty. The year before that Gette said he thought A-West was the best team in the state — but was also upset at the start of the tournament.
But this year feels different for the Wildcats, who not only have a great young core returning, but also add Jeffco’s leading goal scorer from last season. Junior Kyler Fowkes, who was a sophomore at Standley Lake last season, has moved to Arvada and transferred to A-West. Fowkes led the Gators in goals last season with 12 and he did it on a really good team that finished 12-4-1 (4-3-1 in 5A Jeffco).
“He is a really good player and we know that from playing against him. Kyler is going to make a great addition to our team and we think we can be better than we were last year,” Gette said.
Ralston Valley has plans of their own of finally breaking through and claiming a 5A Jeffco league championship.
The Mustangs (10-5-1, 5-3 in league last season) have been on the cusp of winning a league crown over the past few seasons but this year they might have the right tools to get the job done.
Ralston Valley returns their two leading scorers in senior’s Peter Hendricks (nine goals) and Jordan Quinlisk (seven goals). Five other players return who scored at least two goals for the team last season.
Moreover, the Mustangs actually scored eight more goals in league play than A-West did last season, and they had 13 more total goals than the Wildcats.
But what has made the difference between Arvada West and Ralston Valley in recent years has been defense. A-West gave up only four goals in eight league games last season, compared to Ralston Valley’s 11.
Bear Creek also plans on being in the mix to finish in the top half of 5A Jeffco this season after struggling recently.
Coach Shane Daniels had his players motivated to improve over the offseason after a two win campaign last season and the team has looked much improved this preseason.
The Bears will have one of the youngest teams in the league this season but are anchored by their senior goaltender Derick Kipp, who made 85 saves last season.