E.A. Sports Today

Johnson a champion

Alexandria sophomore wins state title in 4A-5A girls shot put; White Plains’ Moore second in pole vault

By East Alabama Sports Today

BIRMINGHAM – After the first time Alexandria’s Kalee Johnson threw a shot put in a competitive meet she never thought she could match the feats of the girls around her.

Now she is a state champion and they’re all chasing her.

Two years removed from that first meet, Johnson threw a day’s best 34 feet, 5½ inches to win the Class 4A-5A girls shot put title during the first day of the State Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Birmingham CrossPlex.

“This is amazing, very cool,” the Valley Cubs sophomore said. “I was just trying to throw the best that I could and get it out there.”

Johnson entered the meet as the No. 1 seed and basically won it on her first throw. She threw 33-6 on her first attempt and no one came close to beating it; second place was 32-2. She actually passed it on her fourth throw and then had her best throw of the day on her final attempt when all the pressure was off.

“I’m always nervous when it comes to meets,” she said. “I had to watch and try to calm myself down and then I had to make sure they weren’t going to catch up. Some got closer and I was hoping I would stay ahead. I was completely relaxed on my last throw and pushed it out there.”

This is actually only Johnson’s second year throwing. She picked it up as an eighth-grader, encouraged by her coach and her father; they thought shot put would be a good fit because of her strength. She also throws discus in the outdoor season.

It was a steep learning curve.

“I really didn’t know anything about throwing, I didn’t know what shot put was,” she said. “I was sitting there saying ‘Look at all these girls. I’m never going to be able to get there, I’m never going to be able to do that.’”

But she kept working at it and now every one in the state is looking up to her.

Here are other scoring performances from Calhoun County athletes at the meet:

White Plains’ Matthew Moore finished second in the 4A-5A boys pole vault (13-6); Winfield’s Walker Junkin won it with a record 15-4.

Piedmont’s Darrian Bossey (39-5¼) and Cardavion Myers (38-2½) went 3-5 in the 1A-3A boys triple jump.

Pleasant Valley’s 1A-3A boys 4×200 relay team — Reagan King, Connor Wolfe, Cameron Green, JohnAnthony Kritlow — was third (1:38.45).

Pleasant Valley’s Trinity Roberts was seventh in the 1A-3A girls 3,200 (12:45.09), Alexandria’s Abby Nunnelly was sixth in the 4A-5A girls 3,200 (12:20.1) and PV’s Matisse Miller was seventh in the 1A-3A boys 800 (2:05.67).

White Plains’ August Poytress was eighth in the girls 4A-5A pole vault (7-0).

Piedmont’s Caden Compton was eighth in boys 1A-3A pole vault (9-6)

In the team standings, White Plains boys are currently tied for eighth in 4A-5A (8 points), Piedmont is eighth in 1A-3A (11) and Pleasant Valley is ninth (8). On the girls side, Alexandria is sixth in 4A-5A (13), White Plains is 20th in 4A-5A (1) and Pleasant Valley is 16th in 1A-3A (4).

Eleven indoor state records were fell Friday. The meet resumes Saturday at 8 a.m. with field events. Running events start at 9.

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