NORTH ROBINSON — If you have been reading the articles in the paper or online, you know head coach Jody Grove has quite a talent on her boys cross country team at Colonel Crawford. That runner is junior Chad Johnson, a humble kid with endless potential.
He showed that potential two weeks ago when in won Ohio’s Division III cross country championship at National Trails Raceway in Hebron.
“I come from a big family of runners. I have four older brothers that all ran,” said Johnson. “I now own the family records across the board”
Now that the season is over, Chad will begin his winter sport, which is distance running for an indoor track club team. In the spring, Johnson will be hitting the outdoor track to run distance for the Eagles. He said his best mile time so far in his still fairly young career is a remarkable 4:20.
“Distance running is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical,” Johnson said. “Mental preparation is my main focus when I am about to run.”
He said that while it is always best to get your head in the game first, physical training is also a must.
“I build up mileage until I get up to about 62 miles a week,” he said.
Like most, Johnson has athletes he looks up to and yes, they are — or were — runners.
“My current favorite athletes are (distance) runners Mo Farah and Galen Rupp. I also look up to Steve Prefontaine,” he said.
When it comes to school, Johnson enjoys anything that involves engineering, which could be the path that he decides to go post-high school. Johnson is thinking about heading west after next year’s graduation to run for the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, whom he says, “has one of the top cross country programs in the U.S.”.
Johnson had a clean sweep of tournament running this season; winning the Division III boys cross country district meet with a time of 15:22.32, winning the regional meet in Tiffin with a time of 15:41.24 and taking the top spot in this year’s state championship meet in a time of 15:18.5.
As for the rest of the season, Chad finished in the top spot in all but one race.
The first race of the season was the Colonel Crawford Early Bird Invite, which Johnson won in a time of 15:56.30, his “slowest” time of the season. The following week at the Bucyrus Elks Invite, Chad was edged out by Buckeye Valley’s Zach Kreft. Kreft finished in 15:36.21 and Johnson in 15:36.74. At the Tiffin Cross Country Carnival, Johnson won in 15:53.4. The next two weekends were spent in Galion at Amann Reservorr, at the Galion Cross Country Festival and the Crawford County meet. His two first-place finishes came with times of 15:33.0 and 15:26.85, respectively. The Buckeye Central Invite gave Chad another first-place finish with a time of 15:34.80. Johnson would get revenge on Zach Kreft the following weekend at the Harding Invite, edging out Kreft with a time of 15:09.3 to Kreft’s 15:09.4. Johnson said that race was his second favorite memory of the year behind winning the Division III state championship. The last regular season meet of the year was the Northern-10 Athletic Conference Championships which he won in a time of 15:09.49.
Find Chad on Twitter @GalionSportsGuy
Reach Chad at 419-468-1117 x2048