Big goals push sprinter across the finish line

Amanda Fulmer

Kent State men’s track and field’s top junior sprinter Marc Johnson has big goals and an even bigger heart to carry him all the way to the NCAA Championships this year and if all goes well, the 2008 Olympics.

“Marc is a student of the sport,” Johnson’s sprinting coach Ron Andrews said. “He has such a competitive fire within him and is willing to listen and do all the extra things it takes to win, on and off the track.”

Johnson said he worked extremely hard over the summer preparing for this year’s pivotal season. He started training five days a week only four days after he ran at the NCAA meet.

“I took four days off, and then I went right back to our basic training,” Johnson said. “I did nine 300s, power cleans and started squatting early.”

He has been keeping that work ethic ever since, adding an extra day. Now during the season Johnson trains six days a week, racking up over 20 hours of total training time.

In the Mid-American Conference Championships last season, Johnson finished a close second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.67.

“It was an iffy second,” Johnson said. “I could’ve swore I had him. He got lucky and beat me by a hair follicle on his shoulder. I got him back at the Regional meet though. So, it showed who the better runner was.”

At the NCAA Regionals last year, Johnson took 22nd and is looking to improve tremendously this year.

“I don’t want to jinx myself,” Andrews said. “But it’s not going to be a far stretch to say he (Johnson) will be All-American Indoors and Outdoors.”

Even though Johnson takes the season one meet at a time, he has his eye on an even bigger prize.

“If I do good this year,” Johnson explained, “I can see myself trying to make the 2008 Olympic team.”

Andrews said he believes Johnson has the mentality to take him all the way.

“He is a fierce competitor,” Andrews said. “He wants to win so badly that he is willing to go to extreme lengths. He’ll do whatever it takes.”

Johnson has been on the right track this season, breaking personal and Kent State men’s all-time records.

In the 200-meter dash, Johnson clocked a 22.27 at this season’s Akron Dual, setting a personal best. His 4×400 team broke the all-time record with a 39.93.

He also holds the No. 2 and No. 4 all-time indoor records in the 60-meter dash with times of 6.73 and 6.75, respectively.

Johnson said he doesn’t want to graduate without leaving an even bigger mark in the Kent State record books however.

“My all time goals would be around a 21.30 in the 200 and a 6.62 would be ideal in the 60 meter,” Johnson said.

Johnson hails from Middletown, Ohio, and was a two time State Champion there. However, he said he was still able to learn a lot when he came to college from fellow Kent State sprinter, Otis Jordan, who was a senior the year Johnson was a freshman.

“My boy Otis gave me some wisdom when he was here. He taught me how to flush out bad races and then prepare for the next race,” Johnson said.

Jordan is also one of the main reasons Johnson chose to come to Kent in the first place.

“When I visited here, he kept it real with me and told me that I was needed,” Johnson said.

Johnson, along with the rest of the Flashes, will compete at the annual Kent State Tune-Up Saturday at the Kent State Fieldhouse.

Contact sports correspondent Amanda Fulmer at

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