Johnson Finishes 2nd in NYS, Smashes School Mark
Senior Tyriek Johnson ended his Huntington High School athletic career in fine fashion, finishing second in long jump at the New York State Track & Field Championships at Cicero-North Syracuse High School last weekend and breaking a 30-year Blue Devil record in the event.
Johnson leaped 24'1 in the NYSPHSAA finals, a mere one-half inch behind Greece Olympia junior Desmond Mobley, who won the state title. In jumping so far, the Huntington teenager broke Joe Herring's Blue Devil mark of 24-feet, which had stood since 1982. Johnson also captured second in the State Federation finals (which includes New York City PSAL and state Catholic high schools).
Johnson's leap of 24'1 places him "among the elite in the nation," Huntington head coach Ron Wilson said. The state meet put an end to what has been a seesaw season for Johnson, one that kept Wilson on the edge of his seat for weeks.
"This has been a bizarre twist of events for us in the track and field world," Wilson said. "Tyriek has been number one in the county and was number one in the state in the 110m high hurdles just a month ago. Everyone just knew he would go to the state championship in the hurdles. But as fate would have it, Johnson pulled up at the finish line at the state qualifier at Port Jefferson two weeks ago, placing third behind Bay Shore's Kadesh Roberts and Copiague's Michael Benson."
Wilson said that Johnson was holding his right hamstring at the finish line and "it didn't look good for him. After a few minutes on the ground of the infield, Johnson was able to get up and have the trainers attend to it. Thank God it wasn't near as worse as it was before [during the winter season.] Here's what's even more bizarre: Johnson almost didn't make it to the championship at all. It was suggested by others that he shouldn't jump at the state qualifier and should just concentrate on the hurdles."
Fortunately, Wilson ignored that last bit of advice. "After speaking with Johnson two hours before the deadline for the state qualfier entries, we decided to enter him in both," the coach said.
The always confident Johnson said he could handle not only the long jump and 110m hurdles, but also the anchor leg of the 4x100m relay. He did just that on the first day of the two-day state qualifier when he soared 23'11.75 to win the county long jump championship, ran 14.78 seconds in the prelims of the hurdles to gain the No. 1 ranking heading into the finals and anchoring the Huntington relay team that ran 43.90 to get the No. 3 seed at the meet.
"Johnson is truly an outstanding athlete that I was blessed to have on our team," Wilson said. "He certainly made himself a name in track and field and left his marks all over the county, breaking school records, meet records and personal best records. We are very proud of his accomplishments here at Huntington and wish him the very best at the next level."
Johnson plans to continue his educational and competitive careers at Farmingdale State College in the fall.