Emani Johnson wouldn't change a thing about her high school career.
The Whitehaven senior goes out a state champion after winning the 300-meter hurdles at last year's state meet. Her next challenge will be in Nashville, where she's signed to compete for Tennessee State.
She took some time to reflect on her favorite high school track memories with us.
Here's our newest submission in our quest to honor the Class of 2020.
What made you get into track and field in the first place and what does this sport mean to you?
Before track, I was doing gymnastics. That was the sport I loved since I was little, but things were starting to change. I had to choose between being a regular kid or consuming myself with gymnastics. I chose to be a regular kid, but I knew I had to occupy my time with something else. People were always in my ear about the speed I had, so track was the next sport for me. I have found a new love. This sport has become my go to and my stress reliever. It is all I think about.
What was your most memorable race/competition?
The most memorable competition for me was the state championship my 9th grade year. When I made it to state and actually scored, I knew this was something I really enjoyed and wanted to pursue to the fullest. I proved to myself and the people around me that I was a force to be reckoned with.
Where did you face your biggest competition?
When we went out of town is where I faced my biggest competition. In Florida and New Orleans, those girls were rolling. My teammates and I knew that we couldn't go down there slacking, because they weren't going to cut us slack.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?
Becoming the 300 hurdle state champion my junior year is the accomplishment that stands out the most. My junior year was a representation of me coming for vengeance after not making it to state my sophomore year.
If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?
I wouldn't change anything about my high school career. I believe everything happens for a reason. When I look back on it, I have no regrets and I'm proud of myself.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
The most difficult obstacles I had to overcome were battling with myself and injuries. No athlete is perfect. I've had times when I wanted to quit. Things weren't going as planned and I wanted to give up, but I prayed about it and kept going.
What will you miss the most?
I will miss the teammates and coaches I'm leaving behind, those are my little sisters, brothers, and parent figures. The bond we all is irreplaceable. I will miss running against my across town rival, Tyra Nabors. Tyra pushed me and I thank her for that.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
Always go hard every single race, because you never know what will happen. Take practice serious, because that's where you get better. Ask questions, keep an open mind, and always have fun.
How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?
My coaches are my parents at school, I'm with them almost as much as my actual parents. They push me to strive for better, to never settle, or get comfortable.
What are your post-high school plans?
My post-high school plans are going to Tennessee State University in the fall on a full athletic scholarship. I will be majoring in Human Performance and Sports Sciences. I'm very excited to live the college experience!!
Shoutout to everyone who supported, thank you so much!