Johns will keep running at Tusculum
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (email@example.com)
Samantha Johns won’t be the first in the family to go to Tusculum, but she will be the first going to compete.
The William Blount senior inked her commitment to the Division II cross country program in Greeneville Monday morning and continued a legacy that started with her great grandparents and her father — all alums of the state’s oldest college.
“I’ll be the first to actually do sports,” Johns told The Daily Times following a reception at WB. “I love the campus, the people, the area everything about the area. I’d applied there and they knew I ran and got in touch with me and it all came together.”
College wasn’t the only thing that clicked for the distance runner this year.
Her personal record times in the 5,000 meters kept falling all through the season after a dedicated summer.
“I just decided I could do this, I can get better. I thought you know I love running so why don’t I put everything into it,” Johns said. “Honestly I probably put about 60 percent into running last year and this year its been 100, all for it.”
A week before the regional meet Johns turned in a new pr covering the Cherokee course in 20:13 but then the unexpected popped up.
“She had a steady progression. But at the start of this year you could just see the light come on about it. She really stepped up her training started incorporating longer runs, ramped up the intensity and you could see a direct correlation to that training intensity and her times as we went through the season,” WB track and cross county coach Chris Frary said.
“We thought she was poised to get a state qualifier spot from our region but she and a couple of girls on the team all came down with that flu bug that was going around and it knocked her back at just the wrong time.”
The senior’s time was a minute slower and good enough for 20th but not fast enough for the spot at the state championships she’d been chasing.
“It was highly disappointing, I wanted to go to state. At least now I know have the chance to do something great again in college, so second chance for success,” Johns said. “But track also starts in two weeks and I am planning to go out with a bang for this last track season.”
The focused attitude is something Frary is enjoying as a role model for his underclassmen and the potential he sees ahead for the runner considering pursuing studies towards being an athletic trainer.
“Tusculumn is a great fit for her. They compete at a level where I think she’ll be very successful. I would not be surprised to see her running in the their top 2 of 3 her first year there,” Frary said.