[EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was originally published on July 30th, 2016 on our old site. Here, it has been republished our new site.]
Dylan Johnson is a competitor.
While attending Cherry Creek High School (Greenwood Village, CO), the four-year All-Colorado selection led the Bruins to four straight state title appearances. In his freshman season at the University of Denver, he started in all sixteen games and by the end of the year, the Pioneer defenseman somehow found a way to get two goals on the stats sheet. Now, Johnson can add yet another accolade to his list of accomplishments: a World Championship Gold Medal.
After winning the U19 FIL World Championships with Team USA, Johnson has now succeeded at every level the game of lacrosse has to offer. That being said, Johnson’s success didn’t happen overnight. Years of hard work and dedication to his craft worked to propel Johnson into the winner’s circle time and time again.
During his four years at Cherry Creek, Johnson used his speed and size to dismantle opposing offenses. Cherry Creek Head Coach Bryan Perry said that, “In my twenty years of coaching I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better combination of speed, size and strength. He was a tremendously imposing figure on the lacrosse field.” However, Perry also added that it’s Johnson’s, “tremendous work ethic [that gives you] the player you see today.”
Now out of high school, Johnson is focused on putting his tremendous work ethic towards the goal of becoming the best lacrosse player that he can possibly be. From putting in work in the weight room to watching film in coach’s office, Johnson is constantly striving to learn as much as he can. He believes that, “everyone can always get better, no matter how good you are.” Personally, Johnson is, “always looking to improve and will never be satisfied.”
The “never stop improving” attitude that Johnson possesses makes him not only NCAA Division One material, but also gets him looks from the United States U19 National Team. In early June, Johnson finally got the call he was hoping for and was added to the US Men’s U19 roster. It’s a moment that Johnson calls a, “huge accomplishment and a big honor.”
After getting the call up, it was back to work for the Denver defenseman. He reported to training camp in June and then another warm-up camp the week before the team headed to Canada for the World Games. Although the national team was filled with great athletes, two weeks of practice is barely enough for guys that have such high expectations. Despite the challenges associated with such little practice, Johnson says that the team was able to gel in those two weeks and performed like they had known each other for years.
To the surprise of almost no one, Team USA found itself in the championship game against longtime rival, Team Canada. After going down by six goals at halftime, the Americans fought their way back and ended up capturing the gold medal. It’s a moment that nobody on the team, including Johnson, will ever forget.
Johnson explained, “At first you’re pretty speechless… When you’re with 23 guys and a coaching staff for two straight weeks in another country, you grow pretty close together. After you realize what just happened, it’s one of the best feelings in the world.”