Williams College's Elise Johnson Feature
By: Norm Weber
May 29, 2010
BEREA, OHIO When Elise Johnson heard that that NCAA National Championships for Track and Field would be held in her hometown of Cleveland, she was ecstatic, since it would mean a trip back home, where she could get fan support.
Of course, she had to qualify, which is what she did and how. The Williams College qualified for three events, the 400-meter relay, the 100 dash and the 100 hurdles.
I was so excited when it was first announced that the nationals would be here, I made a point of it to work hard to get here, said Johnson. I ran on this track in 7th grade, so it brings back a lot of memories. I love this track.
Johnson went to middle school in the Berea School System, attended Midpark High down the street from here for one year and then transferred to Trinity High in Garfield so she would have a better springboard for getting into an East Coast college.
I knew I wanted to go to college on the East Coast and my aunt applied to Williams a few years ago, said Johnson. Even though she did not get accepted, she knew some people who were able to help me get into the school. It has been a great academic and athletic combination.
Johnson is an anthropology major at Williams, the alma-mater of Bay Village native and current New Yorker George Steinbrenner.
I am well aware that Mr. Steinbrenner went to school there, said Johnson. I plan on graduate school after this but will work for at least a year in order to get some practical experience.
Williams was also excited to come back to town for the event because it was the first time she was able to see her newly born nephew.
On top of it all, she had her own local cheering section near the finish line.
That helped get me going, said Johnson. Its nice to run in front of friends and family at a national meet.
Johnson will be running in the finals today of the hurdles. She just missed qualifying in individual sprint and sprint relay.
The hurdles race is my better event, but I still tried my hardest to get into the finals of the other two, Johnson said.