2018 Senior Sendoff: Jade Johnson (Northridge)

Northridge High School

My most memorable meet was definitely the 2018 state meet. I had a pretty rough season as far as outside problems and dealing with everything I was going through was pretty tough and unfortunately taking a toll on my athletic season. This past year's state meet was my best. I PR'd in triple jump and just overall had my best state meet in my past four seasons. It gave me a lot of confidence to move on and feel great about my upcoming collegiate career in track. 

My greatest high school accomplishment would be signing into my athletic collegiate career. As a freshman, running track in college was something that I only dreamed about. Making that dream into a reality made me the most proud of myself especially since at one point I didn't even think that it was something I would do. 

I would definitely have more confidence and explore my options more when it came to signing. Although I did sign to the school I wanted to and that wasn't a last resort decision, I do wish that I had more confidence in myself to go bigger and not be so scared to take those big college visits even though they showed interest. 

My most difficult obstacle I had to overcome during my track career was gaining confidence. Everyone else saw a great jumper and hurdler but for so long, up until the summer before my senior season, I didn't see what others were seeing. I was not a confident competitor and although many of the girls I would race or jump against didn't see it, I was very insecure about my athletic abilities. It was so hard for me to see what everyone else was seeing and I can definitely say that confidence makes a difference. I highly recommend every athlete to find their confidence and don't let anyone try to bring it down. 

I honestly will miss the competition the most. Track and field is a world class sport and although you are competing against someone, for the most part your opponents encourage you to do your best. We always encourage each other to run our best race or jump further than our last attempt or clear higher than we have before. Track definitely embodies the best sportsmanship there is and no one can tell me different. You meet some life long friends in this sport who you will always be close with no matter the different paths you both choose to take in the future, if you do choose to take different ones than track and field. I will miss most the pre-hurdle prayers that all of the girls gathered around for. I will miss leading some of the prayers and being apart of all of them. I will miss everything there is about high school track and field and I am so blessed to be moving on to my collegiate career. 

My advice to younger athletes is to always keep God first for those who are of religious faith. As for all athletes, I really want to push you to find and keep your confidence. That is a major key to this sport and it can make a huge difference in your performance. I advise you to never give up no matter how tough it gets because it will get tough. College does not pay for itself and track and field scholarships can be obtained if you practice and compete to the best of your ability. Making friends isn't a bad thing in sports so outside of competition, try to mingle and make some lifelong friends. Because I am one, I advise young black athletes, especially girls, to keep pushing. You can do this. No matter what odds are against you, no matter who tells you you're not good enough, you are. 

I plan to attend the University of Alabama in Huntsville on a track and field scholarship as a student athlete who is majoring in biology pre-med. Lord willing, I would like to then go to graduate school to pursue my doctorate to become a gynecologist. 

I would like to than Coach Sparks at Northridge for always being there for me. He has always pushed me and always let me know when he felt like he wasn't receiving my best. He has done everything to make me the jumper I am now and believed in me more than anyone else. I would also like to thank Coach Leatherwood also at Northridge for being there for me in ways outside of track. She has also made me the jumper I am now and I cannot be more grateful for her. I would also like to thank all officials who have worked any of the indoor meets at the crossplex meets as well as the outdoor meets.