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Examiner
  • Blue Springs' Johnson diversifying for UCM

  • Alex Johnson loves a challenge.

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  • Alex Johnson loves a challenge.
    That’s one reason the Blue Springs School graduate has signed to compete in the decathlon at the University of Central Missouri.
    “It’s going to be different than anything I’ve ever done, but I like a challenge and am looking forward to working with a coach who competed in the Olympics,” said Johnson, referring to UCM co-head coach Kip Janvrin, who competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympic games and won the 2001 U.S. championship.
    “I’m looking forward to see what happens. I think I’m going to start out attempting to make the 4-by-400 relay team, and work my way into the decathlon.”
    The decathlon consists of 10 events – the 100 meters, long jump, shot put, discus, javelin, pole vault, high jump, 110 hurdles, 400 and 1,500.
    “I filled out a recruiting questionnaire and heard from Coach Janvrin,” said Johnson, who proved his versatility by playing defensive back and wide receiver for the Class 6 state champion Wildcats and earning all-state honors on the Blue Springs’ 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams.
    “This is a real challenge, because I’m going to be competing in events I’ve never tried – ever. The pole vault, hurdles, discus, javelin – we’ll see what happens. I’m excited though. The only event that concerns me is the high jump – I’m not that good of a jumper.
    “But I can score points in all the running events.”
    His contribution had a big impact on the Wildcat track team that finished second at state in May. Johnson teamed with Antwon President, DaShaughn Terry and Darrius Shepherd to medal in the 1,600 and then joined Stephen Mugeche, James Barnett and Simon Belete to medal in the 3,200 relay.
    “UCM is getting one of the hardest workers at Blue Springs,” said Dalvin Warmack, Johnson’s former football teammate. “I remember going to the weight room to work out and I saw a kid on the track, shoveling snow.
    “It was Alex. That’s just the kind of kid he is – no one works harder or wants to succeed anymore than him.”
    Johnson began his track career in eighth grade and said he’s been playing football since first grade.
    “As much as I’m looking forward to track at UCM, I’m going to miss Friday under the lights at Blue Springs,” said Johnson, who graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average. “I love football. Playing for a school like Blue Springs was so special. We all had one goal last season and we accomplished it when we won state.”
    When asked if he had enjoyed a dream senior season, he shook his head no.
    “No way,” he said. “We wanted that state title in track. Hazelwood Central was a great team, and we made some mistakes that cost us some points. We worked hard to finish in second, but I wanted another state ring.”
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