Johnson makes fourth national team

Published 10:12 pm Thursday, June 29, 2017

Team WAR alumna Brandee’ Johnson made her fourth national team after qualifying at the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships last weekend.

Johnson, the 2016 Virginia Gatorade Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year, will be participating in Peru for her fourth USA team. She won the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 57.27 in Sacramento last weekend.

For Johnson, the whole experience was fulfilling for many reasons. One was due to the freshman season she had at the University of Florida. She felt like she didn’t quite have the season she wanted to have. There were many ups and downs in her first year of college track.

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During her freshman year, Johnson admits that she had a hard time trusting her coaches. Part of that was because she was so successful and comfortable with the coaching she received in high school that she hadn’t let go.

“I had a very hard time trusting my college coaches,” Johnson said. “I had to let go of the connection I had with my high school coach and teammates, and I felt like that hindered my performance on the track.”

When Johnson was in Eugene, Ore. for the NCAA championships, she didn’t get the opportunity to run in a relay and she realized she needed to trust her coaches. She quickly did that, and it started by her showing in the Pepsi Relays in March. She ran a 57.2 in the 400-meter hurdle and had a good opener in the 100-meter hurdle as well with a time of 13.1.

Right now, Johnson is enjoying her spectacular performance in Sacramento last weekend. Not only did she compete well, but also she won for the first time. This year, she was competing against different competition. Everyone she was used to competing with had moved up to the senior division. Mentally, she had a different mindset.

“I was focused on my confidence and staying positive,” she said. “I just wanted to get the feel of competing again. My season this year really did fuel me out there, and I will be going forward. I feel like it was a success.”

Last year, Johnson was to compete in Poland, but a medical emergency cut her time there short. This year, she is excited about getting out to Peru and remaining consistent in her performance.

“I’m confident going forward,” she said. “However, I won’t focus on winning and the time but more so executing my race.”