Archive for Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Almost a perfect 10 for Tonganoxie High track alum

THS alum takes 2nd in decathlon, helps WSU win MVC title

July 12, 2016

Ben Johnson has gotten the hang of mult-tasking at Wichita State.

The 2014 Tonganoxie High School graduate just finished his redshirt freshman campaign for the WSU track team as a decathlete.

That means Johnson competes in shot put, discus, javelin, high jump, long jump, pole vault, hurdles, the 100 meters, the 400 meters and the mile run.

Johnson definitely gets his fill of track and field at Cessna Stadium in Wichita.

“We’re out there at least four hours a day,” Johnson said about his normal practice schedule.

But all of the preparation seems to be paying off.

Johnson placed second in the Missouri Valley Conference outdoor championships with 6,629 points, finishing behind teammate Hunter Veith of Cheney, who scored 6,998 at the MVC meet at Terre Haute, Ind.

WSU dominated the event overall, taking the top five spots.

The Shockers also won the overall men’s title as did the women, in the outdoor meet. For the indoor season, when Johnson competed in the heptathlon, WSU won the men’s MVC title and the women placed second.

Because their are so many events in the decathlon and heptathlon, Johnson only competes in three decathlon and three heptathlon events a year. In other meets, he’s competing in just four events, for instance the hurdles, a throwing event, a jump and the 400.

As Johnson noted, he’s going up against competitors who are in their specialized events.

“We usually get our butts kicked, but that’s just all part of it,” he said.

Of all his events, Johnson said he probably enjoys pole vault and hurdles most.

Right now, Johnson is preparing for next season with offseason workouts.

He is working a job and working out in Wichita for the summer and training with his gold-medal teammate Veith.

Johnson actually got a late start in track and field at THS. He didn’t get started until his junior year, but boy did he make a splash as an upperclassmen.

A three-event state qualifier his senior year, Johnson won a Class 4A state title in the triple jump, breaking his own school record with a distance of 45 feet, 2 inches at the 2014 state meet at Cessna Stadium.

“I think the late start actually helped because i’m still interested,” Johnson said. “I didn’t get burned out.

But he admitted it also hurt in that he doesn’t have as much experience in the events.

Whatever his road to collegiate track and field, it’s worked for Johnson.

And as much as he loved winning an individual state medal, taking home the team trophy from the MVC meet at Indiana State is a little sweeter.

“As fun as it is to win things individually, there’s no better feeling than winning with your team and being on the bus and talking about the championship on the ride home,” he said.

The men’s indoor title broke a string of seven MVC indoor and outdoor runner-up finishes for the Shockers.

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