Junior Chris Johnson Represents Colgate Well at Nationals

Matt Flannery

While the fall season wound down for most members of Colgate’s cross country teams, the respective leaders of the men’s and women’s teams both received fantastic news over Thanksgiving vacation. Senior veteran Elise DeRoo, who failed to qualify for the national championships after doing so last year, was rewarded for her stunning performance both on and off the course this season. Junior Chris Johnson, the lone Colgate runner to advance to the national championships, represented the Raiders well and positioned himself for a dominant season next fall.

DeRoo, long known for her success both on the cross-country course as well as in the classroom, was named the Patriot League Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year. 2011 is the second consecutive cross-country season in which DeRoo was presented with the accolade. She has also been given the same recognition in both indoor and outdoor track and field. The senior leader was the only Colgate runner to receive the honor, and Navy was the only school with multiple representatives voted onto the team.

On November 21, breakout junior Chris Johnson traveled to Terre Haute, Indiana to compete in the NCAA National Championships held on the Indiana State University cross-country course. Johnson qualified for the prestigious meet with his victory in the Patriot League Championship just over a week prior.

Despite facing off against the best competition in the nation, Johnson placed fairly well, finishing 115th in a field of over 250 runners. Johnson broke out of the gates a little faster than he anticipated, but pushed through the grueling course en route to a very respectable time of 30:55.2.

Johnson sounded a bit disappointed when talking about his race, saying, “I didn’t run the smartest race and got out way too fast… I could have done better, but am still proud of how I performed.”

At the end of the first mile of the race, Johnson was nearly even with German Fernandez, the eventual 10th place finisher in the event. Johnson, though disappointed somewhat with his performance, drew plenty from the race and is already looking

forward to another opportunity next season.

When asked about what he learned at the meet, Johnson said, “I learned a lot about where I am as a runner and about the competition at nationals… and [that] the way I can perform my best at a meet like nationals is to focus on what I need to do to run well and not get distracted by everyone else in the race.”

Though the meet spelled the end of the cross-country season for Johnson, his general running season is far from over. The star runner will now begin preparing for the indoor track season, in which he will look forward to running some shorter distances relative to his weekly 8-kilometer races throughout the fall.

Contact Matt Flannery at [email protected]