Johnson reflects on journey as Boys Athlete of the Year

Trey Johnson of FCHS is the County Boys Athlete of the Year. (Staff Photos by Christopher Dunn)

There are only a handful of athletes that are as talented Fayette County track and field sprinter Trey Johnson.

One look at his resume and you will be hard pressed to find one that compares. Since joining the track team in 10th grade, Johnson has lit up scoreboards with his supreme talent in the 200-meter and 400-meter dash.

This season, he added more hardware to his collection. Johnson dominated at the GHSA Class AAAAA State Championships, winning three gold medals at the event. He won first place in the 400-meter dash, the 4×100 relay, and the 4×400 relay.

“Since it was my senior year, it felt good to be on top of Georgia leader boards,” Johnson said. “The year before, I had gotten second place going into state. I wanted to come back and win along with the team.”

Johnson also achieved his dream of running Division I track and field. He is signed to Southern Mississippi on a track scholarship and will join the squad as a freshman in the fall.

“Track is something that I am passionate about,” Johnson said. “In my junior year, I got good times and I knew I could go somewhere and do something with my talent.”

For all his accomplishments, Johnson was an easy choice for our 2018 Boys Athlete of the Year. He demonstrated a wealth of skill sets and is worthy of the award. This is due to the skills he cultivated at a young age.

Growing up in a military family, Johnson spent some time moving around. He spent part of his life in Hawaii living with his parents, Forrest and Anita Johnson. Both of his parents were standout track athletes at the University of Georgia and helped guide him early on.

“When he was small, I put him in everything to see what would catch on,” Anita Johnson said. “He did basketball, football, baseball, and everything. However, when he ran with his father in some 5K’s, he just liked it from then on.”

Trey took his experiences and joined the middle school track team in the seventh grade. He was mainly a sprinter, but also did other events for the squad. He started winning and getting noticed by other coaches.

“It got me all interested again as we had been away from the sport,” Anita Johnson said.

His parents decided to move to Fayetteville after his ninth-grade season. He settled at Fayette County High School and started running with longtime head coach John Strickland. It took a while to get adjusted, but Johnson’s talent continued to shine through.

The spoils of victory from a dominant track and field career.

“When I got here, it was a lot of competition and it was tough,” Trey Johnson said. “I had to work to get to the top.”

Johnson started to hit the gym early and work out with his dad. He was put through a rigorous training regimen to get ready for competitions. He worked on two-minute 400-meter dash drills and field exercises.

“He would do four sets and get 15 minutes of rest,” Forrest Johnson said. “Then he would line up and do another set.”

The drills paid off as he was elevated up the proverbial ladder. Johnson continued to improve his times as he won the 400-meter title with a time of 47.08 seconds. He also helped set the school record in the 4×100 meter dash.

Along the way, schools called to recruit him. He decided that Southern Miss would be the best choice as he could work with head coach Jon Stuart. Johnson also knew that Stuart’s connection with his parents could help him grow even more.

“My parents went to school with the coach and know his background as a good 400-meter coach,” Trey Johnson said. “He wanted to recruit me before he saw me run as he knows what my dad was able to do.”

Johnson plans on running in both the indoor and outdoor portions of the track season. He has experience after competing in AAU and Summer Track. However, he knows that he will have to make an adjustment to reach the top.

“I think it will be a slight adjustment as we start competitions earlier than I am used to doing,” Johnson said.

Luckily, he will have his parents, family, and friends to help support him along the way.

“We are used to the travel as we have been through it,” Anita Johnson said. “It’s where our knowledge and expertise comes through as we can help him get prepared.”

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