By Sam Ojeda
Sports Editor

Records have been broken and personal records have been set. Chris Johnson, a freshman at Hutchinson Community College who is on the track and field team, has achieved both of those.

Johnson, a Texas native, had no idea he was about to break the school pole vault record in a meet earlier this season. “Before jumping I didn’t realize that the height that I was on would be the new school record so, I was just having fun doing what I love to do and enjoying the moment,” Johnson said.

Johnson was also confident that this jump was not going to be too difficult.

 “I’ve attempted 16-7 once already so now I’m on my second attempt and I know if I don’t make it I might get in my head a little on my third attempt so I tell myself ‘I got this, I’ve prepared for this moment’,” Johnson said.

Most common sports watchers do not know how much a crowd can do for a pole vaulter or jumper. Johnson loved to use the crowd and used them during his record-breaking jump.

“I step up onto the runway, rest my pull on my shoulder, take a deep breath in,” Johnson said. “I start my clap up to involve the crowd in this special moment in my life. I also use them to motivate me to clear this mountain of a height it seems like, I drop the pole to my hands, lift it and I take off. Everything is intense.”

The intensity of the jump does not compare however to the mechanical intensity that Johnson had to go through.

“As I’m running I’m thinking of all the fundamental things I have to do to get over this height,” Johnson said. “I did the split second to where it feels I have to do all these things at once. I get a good strong jump off the ground, punch my bottom arm up, row swing, get my butt above my head, turn and push off the top of the pole and I’m up and over the top of this bar”

Johnson cleared the pole and came down a record holder.

 “I fall upon the mat and I get up and punch the air in excitement,” Johnson said. “I get off the mat filled with joy and the school record pops into my head. I asked my coach if that was the school record and he told me “no” but later that night he found out that it was indeed the new school record.”

Improving in pole vault is not easy and Johnson has been working hard to take those strides.

 “The strides I’ve seen is wanting to be that best of the best in this game,” Johnson said. “I know I have a long way to go and it pushes the day-by-day struggles that I have. Another reason is to stay strong with the Lord and know why things happen and accept them, good or bad.”

HutchCC is headed into the final month of the season and a crucial one at that. It is all Region 6 and NJCAA championships from here. Johnson is headed into the postseason with records in hand and championships in sight.

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