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Whiteford’s Johnson finishes career with 5 state titles

06/05/2014, 12:00am EDT
By MARK MONROE BLADE SPORTS WRITER

3 long jump championships, 2 in 200-meter dash; runner-up in 100

Johnson finishes career with 5 state titles

Miranda Johnson set a Division 4 state meet record by winning the long jump competition at 18 feet, 6½ inches. Johnson will compete next year at Siena Heights University.

Whiteford senior Miranda Johnson fell just short of her ultimate goals at the state track and field meet last Saturday but her consolation prizes weren’t too shabby.

Johnson became a five-time state champ when she added two more titles at the Division 4 meet in Hudsonville, Mich.

Johnson won the long jump title for a third straight year. She also captured first place in the 200-meter dash for the second consecutive a year and set state meet records in both events.

“It means a lot,” Johnson said. “I’m glad it’s over, and I was happy with how I did.”

Johnson broke her own state meet record in the long jump. Her leap of 18 feet, 6½ inches topped her own meet record of 18-2½ that she had set last year.

Her record-setting time in the 200 was 25.15 seconds.

But Johnson also was second in the 100. The four-time state qualifier had aspirations of capturing that title as well and was looking to go beyond 19 feet in the long jump. Her personal record in the event was 18-9 on April 29.

“My goal was to get all three,” Johnson said. “I wanted 19 feet, and that was what I was going for. That was my goal. I broke my record, but I was a little disappointed.”

Johnson ran a 12.63 in the 100, just 0.08 seconds behind Jordan Goodman (12.55) of Mason County Eastern.

“It was a really close race, and it was great to watch,” Whiteford girls track coach Mike Hughes said.

During her remarkable career, Johnson was a 10-time state placer and a five-time regional champion.

“As a first-year head coach, I couldn't have asked for more,” Hughes said. “It was definitely a gift to have such an athlete my first season. She will be compared to other people every year.”

Johnson scored all 28 of Whiteford’s points for a fifth-place finish out of 60 teams, the school’s highest ever.

“She did a wonderful job,” Hughes said. “She had a great day. She was very relaxed and concentrated on what she wanted to do.”

The first title she won Saturday was the long jump.

Johnson then finished second in the 100 before capping her career with a victory in the 200.

“I was nervous, but I was more relaxed because it was my fourth time to state,” Johnson said. “I knew how it would happen.”

Johnson leaves with three school records, three Tri-County Conference records, and two state records. Making those accomplishments even more remarkable is the fact that Whiteford does not have a track and field facility.

Johnson has trained at Athletic Republic training center in Toledo since her freshman season, when she qualified for state in the long jump and 200. She won nine TCC titles, including the long jump all four years.

Several Division I college programs expressed interest, including Western Michigan, but Johnson has opted to attend Siena Heights in nearby Adrian.

“I couldn’t leave home. I had to be close,” Johnson said. “I come from small Whiteford, so I like the little school aspect. I like being the underdog. I want to come from a small Division III school and do great things.”

Johnson will run the sprint events but her focus will be on the long jump. She plans to major in physical therapy.

“The whole week I had so much pressure on myself,” Johnson said. “I had so many people watching me. I’m glad I did really well my senior year.”

Contact Mark Monroe at: mmonroe@theblade.com, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.

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