Fast start

Junior track and field star qualifies for nationals in first race of season

Current GLIAC Athlete of the Week and junior track and field runner Samantha Johnson has continued her torrid athletic year into more national recognition.

A leader on the nationally ranked No. 14 Ferris State women’s track and field team, Johnson needed only one race to garner national attention.

Johnson is a two-sport athlete (Cross Country and Track and Field), and most recently hit the indoor National Provisional Qualifying mark in the mile at the annual Mike Lints Laker Open inside the Kelly Family Sports Center at Grand Valley State University on Jan. 17.

Her mile time of 4:54.70 paced the pack, winning the mile, and was one of five Bulldogs in the top ten of the 36-athlete field in the event.

“Going into the race, I wasn’t expecting much,” Johnson said. “I hadn’t had any speed training yet. Nonetheless, I was shocked by running my best time in my first race!”

The junior needs to drop 6.2 seconds to automatically qualify for NCAA Div. II Indoor National Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C on March 14-15.

The provisional cut provides a cushion in case enough athletes do not make the automatic cut. With the provisional cut, only the necessary amount of athletes are taken from the pool of provisional cuts (Fastest first).

In the fall of 2013, Johnson finished fifth in the nation in women’s cross country at NCAA Div. II National Championships in the women’s 6k, which was the highest ever finish by a Bulldog.

Prior to that, she was an NCAA Div. II cross country regional champion.