Johnny Jefferson is walking away from the 100-meter dash a champion.
The Shoemaker senior won a district championship in the renowned event for the second time in three years last week, but opted to not run it today at the District 7-5A and 8-5A area track and field meet at Waco Midway’s Panther Stadium.
“Even though I love the race so much, I’m not at the talent of all the other gifted guys that just run track speed,” Jefferson said of scratching the 100. “But, being on the relay with my team, they’re depending on me and getting that extra push; we all click together and have a chemistry so it’s just better to be with my team.”
Jefferson won the 100 and anchored the Grey Wolves’ district champion 400- and 800-meter relays at the District 8-5A track and field meet last week in Temple and the KDHPressbox.com Player of the Week honor for the week of April 7-13th.
Jefferson received 90.5 percent of the votes cast (220 votes) to win the second Player of Week honor of his senior year. Temple softball ace Lexi Smith finished second with 7 percent of the vote. Harker Heights sprinter Brittany Adkins finished third and Belton’s Wolf Mahler finished fourth.
Jefferson won the 100 for the first time since his sophomore season in 10.69 seconds, two one-hundreths of a second ahead of Harker Heights’ Darius Mitchell (10.71). Shoemaker’s 400-meter relay won in 41.07 and the 800 relay finished in 1:26.19, two seconds ahead of runner-up Copperas Cove.
With just 15 minutes separating the 100-meter dash and the 800-meter relay, Jefferson opted to focus his attention and speed on the Grey Wolves’ relay instead of the lone event in which he qualified as an individual.
“It’s a little tough to run back-to-back events and be as good as you can be,” Shoemaker track coach Kevin Ellison said. “He’s good in the 100, obviously, but he wanted to make sure he was good for his teammates in the 4-by-2 (the 800 relay).”
Jefferson’s time the 100 meters was the second-fastest qualifying time for today’s area meet, behind DeSoto’s Tremayne Acy (10.46). Following Jefferson’s lead, relay teammate DeOntre Haynes also pulled out of the 100 to focus on the Grey Wolves’ 800 relay.
“I think the biggest thing is all of them have decided they want to get an opportunity to be at peak performance when their events come up,” Ellison said. “Rest is important and being able to be with your teammates is what we’ve been centered around here all year.”
“Now that we both are taking off, we expect high expectations out of both the 4-by-1 and 4-by-2,” Jefferson added. “(Today), we’re going to see DeSoto and all them, so we’ve got our eyes on the prize. We’re there for a reason and we’re not just going to lollygag.”