Qualifying for the 2012 85th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays (High Schools) as a 7th Grader in 2010 with a time of 11.6, Italy High School Freshman, Kotnei Johnson, packed her track bag and left for Austin Thursday to compete in the 100 meter dash inside Mike A. Myers Stadium, the home of The University of Texas Longhorn track and field and soccer teams and also home to the USATF Elite Running Circuit Austin Track Club.
The 20,000 seat stadium hosts the historic Texas Relays annually in April, as well as the University Interscholastic League track and field state championship in May. The 2012 Texas Relays track and field events are being held Tuesday, March 28 thru Saturday, March 31 and Kortnei was scheduled to run her first race in the prelims at 2:00 p.m. on Friday.
Accompanied by her parents, Stephanie & James Johnson, and Italy Track & Field teammate, Jimesha Reed, on the trip, Johnson stated on the eve of the prelims, “I run a 12.03 now but these are the Texas relays, they’re going to push me, so I’m hoping to run an 11.” Johnson awoke confident Friday morning as she prepared for one of the biggest moments of her track career. Reed, an IHS senior, helped to keep Johnson relaxed and confident.
By the end of the prelims, Johnson recorded the 4th fastest time of all the sprinters competing. Her 12.07 mark earned Johnson a lane in the finals on Saturday and a chance to be the state champion.
In the finals, Johnson finished in second place with a time of 12.01, earning the Italy freshman a silver medal in the 100 meter dash in Division 1 which is a 1A, 2A and 3A competition. The winning time of 12.00 was ran by a senior from Longview Spring Hill.
A truly outstanding accomplishment by Johnson when you consider Italy’s sports facilities do not include a track. Johnson’s ability to run fast is 100% natural.
Special thanks to, Jimesha Reed, and Italy’s newly appointed athletic director, Hank Hollywood, for meet updates regarding Johnson. Coach Hollywood later stated, “Impressively, Kortnei, is now the front runner to win the 2A division at state!”