MILLSAP – Millsap’s Payton Johnson’s sacrifices have paid off with USATF awarding her All-American status after her Mach 1 4x800 relay team finished in sixth-place at the Junior Olympics in June.

Johnson has been running for two years with the Mach 1 track and field team based out of Weatherford, and the 12-year-old’s career also includes running cross country. As part of her running routine, Johnson gave up sugar and sweets and concentrated on healthy eating habits.

“I didn’t have any sugar starting April 1,” Johnson said. “It wasn’t that hard to do unless one of your friends get in your face with some candy and teases you a little.”

Giving up sweets was one of the easy things to do as Johnson reported her workouts and training are vigorous and goal-oriented.

The work paid off in a big way as Johnson’s 12 and under team went into the Junior Olympics ranked ninth and emerged as the sixth-place finisher. The rise in the rankings came about with all the girls giving it their best.

“All of us ran our personal-best times,” Johnson said. “Michael Murry ran a 2:32 on the second leg and Sophia Brandenberg, Elizabeth Griffin and I all ran times of 2:36.”

Johnson won’t be resting on her laurels and plans on continuing her running in the upcoming cross country season, but she does have a plan to grab a little sugar.

“I’ve had some sugar once since the meet, and I plan on having some at our church this week,” Johnson said. “Then I am going to be back in training.”

Johnson is the daughter of Jacob and Cassie Johnson. Johnson also has someone to work with on her speed with younger brother Braun, 9, who recently broke the Mach 1 record for the 100-meters. 

Recommended for you