Johnston wins two first-time state soccer championships in one night

Soccer two winsDes Moines, Ia. (June 3, 2023) — Two overtime wins. Two state soccer championships. One magical night for the Johnston Dragons at the James W. Cownie Soccer Park.

The Johnston varsity girls and boys soccer teams both won state championships on Saturday, June 3. The story that got them there was nothing short of amazing.

Girls win with penalty kicks

The girls won the Iowa High School Girls Athletic Union’s Class 3A State Championship, with a 2-1 win over Valley after two overtimes and penalty kicks. 

The game was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, and continued to be tied after two 10-minute overtimes. That left the outcome to penalty kicks, and your Dragons prevailed! Soccer excitement

This was the Johnston girls soccer team’s first title in school history. The girls ended the season with a 16-4 record. Four of our players — Meredith Downs, Emma Hampton, Tyler Donaldson and Isabella Balsley — were named to the Class 3A All-Tournament Team, with Isabella named captain. 

Boys come from behind for the championship

A few minutes later, just on the other side of Cownie Soccer Park, the boys won the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s Class 4A State Championship, with a 3-2 win over Iowa City West in overtime.

It was a come-from-behind win. As KCCI’s Scott RSoccer boyseister reports, Johnston was down 0-2 with 19 minutes left in the game. They tied it with 1:30 left on a bicycle kick, then won it in two overtimes with a freshman Cael Leach’s first goal of the season.

Johnson’s varsity boys soccer team compiled an 18-3 record after beginning the season with a record of 0-2. From there they went on to win 12 games in a row, boasting a perfect conference record of 8-0 and won the first state championship in the program’s history. 

The team’s nine seniors compiled a career record of 52-9 in three seasons with two conference champions, three state tournament appearances and a state championship to top it off. 

Four of our players — Amer Oric, Mateo Munguia, Grant Strickler and Will Safris — were named to the Class 4A All-Tournament Team, with Amer named captain. 

Siblings among the championsSoccer siblings

The win by both the girls and boys soccer teams on June 3rd gave Johnston two state soccer championships in one night. Two of the players on our girls and boys state championship teams — Kate and Grant Strickler — are brother and sister. 

Their younger brother, Blake Strickler, played in the Club State Championship the next day, and they won, as well. 

Congratulations to all of the players and coaches! Both teams, along with the Johnston boys track and field team which also captured its first-ever state championship this year, will be recognized by the Johnston Board of Education on Monday, June 12.