There is more to life than running.
It's a fact that may be hard to believe for athletes in the successful San Lorenzo Valley High track and cross country programs, for all the training they put in and the love many profess for the sport. But at least one Cougar has embraced the idea that some other entertaining activities do exist.
With that in mind, senior Cody Johnson decided to commit to the University of Missouri. There, he believes, he will best be able to mesh his development as a middle-distance talent with his enjoyment of hunting and the outdoors.
"They kind of have a history of being a really good middle distance school. I knew they were bringing in some really serious middle distance guys for
Johnson had a stellar junior season. In cross country, he won his second straight Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League title and went on to win the Central Coast Section Division IV title as well.
When track season came around, he won the SCCAL and CCS titles in the 800. During the state semifinals, he broke former Stanford runner Jacob Evans' county record in the event with a time of 1 minute, 52.44 seconds, which also qualifyed him for junior
Johnson's senior year hasn't gone as smoothly. He entered cross country season as the league and CCS favorite, but tore his quadriceps and had to sit out the postseason.
He is recovering and looking forward to running his senior track season with a little lighter step now that his college decision has been made.
"It's something I've been stressing about: going on a bunch of visits, wondering where I would end up next year," he said. "It's one less thing I have to worry about. I'm looking forward to not having to make that decision again."
Johnson, whose sister ran for the University of Arkansas and father competed in the 800 for Tri State University in Indiana, also considered Alabama, Azusa Pacific and Iowa State.
The Tigers are coached by Brett Halter, with Joe Lynn handling most of the distance runners. One of their top runners, Ricky West, placed sixth in the 800 at the NCAA Division I championships (1:46.47).
SLV distance coach Rob Collins said he thinks Johnson made the right choice.
"It's one of the premier men's 800 and 1,500 schools. They have a good tradition there," Collins said. "I'm really happy and pleased."