Sophomore Jordan Johnson will always be remembered for his single jump that landed him in the record books of App State.
Johnson broke the school long jump record with a distance of 25-2.00. The previous school record was held by Michael Hanks, who held it for 31 years with a distance of 25-1.25.
“Sometimes you have those jumps where you feel like you broke your own personal record,” Johnson said. “For the school record I did not think anything about it, but when I looked back and saw where I landed I knew it would be close, and when the numbers flashed on the board I was just in shock that I broke the record.”
Breaking the record for long jump has brought many individual awards Johnson’s way and none were more important to him than being named the men’s Sun Belt Field Athlete of the Week.
“This award means a lot to me. I thanked my coaches and my parents for getting me where I needed to be to be named athlete of the week,” Johnson said. “This gives me extra motivation because now I have to reach higher for other goals.”
It has not always been a career of recorded breaking performances for Johnson; he had his own personal struggles of transitioning to the intensity of college sports.
“Having that extra year under me has helped me more than anything else. I could tell my mentality has changed drastically,” Johnson said. “At the end of my freshman year I was dealing with an injury and knowing that I am completely healthy translates to my success.”
With Johnson’s injury at the end of his freshman year, head coach John Weaver knew that shutting him down for the rest of the year would be the perfect healing strategy.
“I advised him not to train for most of the offseason,” Weaver said. “The best thing about the human body is that when we do have an injury, and we let the body rest, it tends to heal on its own.”
Weaver was also the coach for Johnson’s parents, since they are both App State alumni, and Weaver knew the type of athlete he could be.
“He was born with good genes. His mom was a tremendous sprinter and his father was an outstanding jumper, so it is easy to see where he gets his characteristics from,” Weaver said. “Some children do not fulfill their parents’ pedigree, but that is not the case with Jordan.”
Johnson has continually impressed the coaches, and this started then he first walked through the doors on the first day of practice.
“It is funny when I was recruiting him, I did not see a potential record breaker,” associate head track coach Damion McLean said. “My perception of him changed when I actually got to work with him. Once I saw the elasticity at takeoff, I knew he could be good.”
Being only a sophomore, Johnson could potentially break other records, perhaps even his own record, and he does not want to fall into complacency.
“After breaking a record, some people think everything else is going to come easier to them,” Johnson said. “That is not going to be me. I am going to come in with more intensity and try to beat my own record.”
Johnson is still very young. For him to take his game to the next level, his coaches know he is going to have to do a lot of dirty work that the fans will not see.
“I would like to see Johnson continue to grow in the weight room,” McLean said. “Of course he is not going to break a record every time he jumps, but what you would like to see is him take those same kind of steps leading up to a jump.”
Breaking a record highlights the individual over the team, but for Johnson, he is all about the team.
“I want us to win the conference this year,” Johnson said. “Last year we did not place and that is something that drives me to be the best player I can be.”
Story By: Michael Pigg, Sports Reporter