COLUMBUS — Tri-County North’s Austin Johnson competed in the Division III 300-meter hurdles, taking eighth place and reaching the podium at the state meet in Columbus on Friday and Saturday, June 5-6.
Johnson got to state by placing first in districts with a time of 40.23 before coming in fourth at regionals with a time of 40.20.
He qualified in the preliminary round on Friday, running the seventh fastest time of 40.28. On Saturday, he finished with a time of 40.81.
For both events, Johnson was placed in the eighth lane – a lane he was not used to running in.
“I’ve never run in that lane before. It’s a little higher on the turn so it’s not as comfortable,” he said.
On his final race, he was off to a bumpy start, hitting the second hurdle. He recovered from the mishap and remained around fifth place until he also caught the second to last hurdle, slowing down his time.
But while Johnson wasn’t satisfied with his overall time, he achieved all his goals he set for himself at the beginning of the season.
“It’s been a really good experience. I’m proud to make it to the finals and represent Tri-County North,” he said. “I am just really proud. Every single goal I set in the preseason I made. I broke the school record, I made it to state. I almost won (Cross County Conference). I got first in districts. Squeezed in fourth at regionals. I had a pretty successful season for this not technically being my favorite race.”
Johnson is a senior this year and was the team’s leader in points. He didn’t get to this level by accident, either. He always pushed himself, putting in a lot of time and hard work, said his head coach Jim Conway.
“He busted his hump. He’s earned the right to be here because he’s worked so hard. I’m proud of him,” said Conway. “He’ll drive himself. Sometimes you have to pull him back from time to time so he doesn’t hurt himself. But he’s a workhorse. It makes my job a lot easier when you have a kid that’s a workhorse like that. He’s just been a joy to have in track the last few years just to see him grow and develop.”