Sprinter Seeks Greatness
by Marvin Davis
Delta Digital News Service
JONESBORO — A returning junior at Arkansas State University plans to impact this track-and-field season.
Kden Johnson earned his first Sun Belt Conference Championship last year and wants another one this year.
A sprinter from Atlanta, Georgia, Johnson attended high school at Benjamin Banneker High School. In high school, he ran the 400-meter, 200-meter, 1×400 meter relay and the 4×400 meter relay. Johnson’s high school relay team ranked No. 1 in the country in the 4×400. It also broke the Georgia state record in the event.
“I knew I wanted to run track as a career my sophomore year in high school,” Johnson said. “I knew I was pretty good at it. I wanted to be great.”
He was inspired by watching Michael Johnson, who won four Olympic gold medals and eight World Championship gold medals as a sprinter.
Track and field head coach Jim Patchell expects big things from A-State’s Johnson.
“Kden didn’t run as well in conference as we would have liked, so we have to get there. Kden is a good teammate and does a good job in practice,” Patchell said.
Johnson will run the 400-meter, 200-meter, and the 4×400 meter relay this season. Johnson has made major strides to improve and said he aims to become a better teammate and athlete on-and-off the track.
“Kden is doing really well. He seems more motivated and pushes through workouts this year,” senior women’s hurdler La’Carol Baynes said. “Kden’s attitude improved a lot, and I see that his drive has grown since last year, as well.”
When Johnson goes home to Atlanta, he talks to the children at the local Boys and Girls Club he attended at a young age. Johnson gives the kids advice on how to make it in any sports they are pursuing.
“Keep grinding because your time will come,” Johnson said. “Keep working hard and something will happen for you.”
A creative media production major with an emphasis in audio and video, Johnson also participates in Brother to Brother, an organization that promotes brotherhood, academic success, professionalism and social skills.
Johnson and the A-State track team run their first meet Dec. 2 at the First National Bank Arena in Jonesboro.
EDITOR’s NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the first meet to Dec. 2 instead of Dec. 4.