Johnson Running For App State - TribPapers

Johnson Running For App State

Katie Johnson flanked by her dad, Brett, and mom, Jen, signs to run for App State. Photo by Clint Parker

North Buncombe – North Buncombe High Senior Katie Johnson has been running hard to be the best not only on the track but in the classroom, as she is graduating valedictorian with a 4.8 GPA. Her work has certainly paid off, as she will also be running for Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.

“I don’t know what I’m doing academically yet, I haven’t decided on a major yet,” Johnson told the Tribune at her signing on Thursday (May 16th) afternoon in the school’s cafeteria.

“It was my mom, she wanted me to do some kind of athletic thing,” explaining how she got into cross country. “I really didn’t want to be in it. She said you have to do something, and I’m like, no, I don’t want to, and then within the first week, I fell in love with it.” That was Johnson’s freshman year, and she’s been running ever since. Johnson is twice state champion, and she is in the top 10 finishes in several events in the state.

Talking about the differences between high school and college, Johnson said, “It’s definitely going to simply be a big change…I think my coaches and teachers have prepared me really well for the next level…I’m super excited.”

“I think it’s great,” said Katie’s mom, Jen, about her daughter’s signing and attending App State. “She’s super excited and feels like she has more to do with running, so I’m glad she’s getting the opportunity to do so.”

Dad also feels equally proud of his daughter. “I think it’s wonderful! I think running is good for her, and being on a team is really good for her. I think it’s great going off to a good school to have a group of people she’s going to be on a team with.”

North Buncombe Running Coach Jane Roane was asked what made Johnson a good runner, “Extremely determined. Very, very strong work ethic and always puts her team first.” Asked how Katie contributes to the team, Roane replies, “She is an integral part as a leader and a captain. She always gives her best. She runs in several relays and individual events.”

Roane was also asked to speak during the signing ceremony. As she introduced Katie, she told the group, “I want to draw you back to the first week of track practice; she was not a happy camper. She was not. We had to earn her trust as coaches, trust herself, and believe in herself. We are so proud of this girl.” At this point, Roane and Johnson are in tears. “Don’t make me cry,” she told Katie. “her family and coaches are so excited to see what her future holds,” added Roane.