(Gulf Shores, AL) Two days after taking 3rd place in the 10,000 meters with a school record time of 36:43.12 at the NAIA Outdoor Track National Championship, Stephanie Johnston (JR/Brantford, ON) took to the track for her final event of the championship in the 5,000 meters. Johnston continued her success and placed 7th (17:52) overall to earn her 2nd All-American honor at the championship and 4th of the year.
Johnston was the aggressor and chose to push the pace by taking nearly a 100 meter lead from the rest of the pack early in the race. "I knew if I wanted another All-American title I just had to go for it and make a gap for myself," said Johnston. "I knew it was a risky move but for me it was the right one. I really wanted to bring home another title for Concordia. I now know for next time when I run that I go out faster than I think and hold that pace for longer too."
The junior standout entered the 5k preliminary around with the 21st fastest time (17:39) among NAIA runners. The preliminary race was ran on Friday evening where Johnston automatically qualified by placing 5th in her heat and 13th fastest with a time of 18:40.
Despite high heat and humidity, Johnston was able to pull out another heroic performance and become the only Cardinal to have 4 All-American honors in a competitive calendar season and 5th in her illustrious career.
Johnston completes her junior season by earning the highest recognition at the NAIA Cross Country National Championship with a 26th place finish, the NAIA Indoor Track National Championship with a 2nd place finish in the 5000 meters and at the NAIA Outdoor Track National Championship with a 3rd place finish in the 10,000 meters and a 7th place finish in the 5,000 meters. Thought the NAIA does not host the Half-Marathon event as part of the National Championship, it is worth noting that Johnston's half-marathon time of 1:23:44.80 in the Probility Ann Arbor Half Marathon on March 26th was the 5th fastest time among NAIA participants.
As Johnston closes the chapter on her junior year, the All-American reflected on her support system. "I have to thank my coaches, parents, teammates, and friends for cheering me each season and all year. I would not be the runner I am without them. My coaches have helped me accomplish more than I thought I would this year"