Cross Country: Johnson carrying leadership torch for Lady Hubs

Rising junior Sara Johnson will be the Lady Hub harrier to watch out for when the Rochelle Township High School cross country team hits the trails this fall. (Photo by Marcy DeLille)

Junior harrier prepared to push for top times this fall

Since beginning her freshman cross country season at Rochelle Township High School, Sara Johnson has been practicing and competing alongside some of the program’s best leaders in recent years. Now an upperclassman herself, Johnson is ready to give back the lessons she’s learned from past teammates and step up as the top Lady Hub harrier this fall.

“I’m excited to be back with the team,” Johnson said. “It’s exciting to reconnect and run with everybody again… I thought I improved my times a lot this past season and I did a good job keeping up with many of the faster runners. I want to continue improving my times and my endurance this season and I want to cut at least a minute off of my 3-mile time.”

Johnson will be gearing up for her third season running cross country for the Lady Hubs. As a freshman, Johnson helped Rochelle record a top-6 finish at the IHSA 2A Belvidere North Regional, running a season-best time of 21:47.2. Her sophomore season was marked by multiple accolades including a runner-up finish at the Interstate 8 Conference Fresh-Soph Championships, where she pushed the Lady Hubs to second place out of eight schools.

Johnson medaled in nearly every single meet, and she capped off her successful sophomore season with a top-30 performance at the IHSA 2A Sterling Regional, assisting the Lady Hubs to their second consecutive IHSA 2A Sectional appearance. Johnson’s consistency on the trails was showcased in her ability to either medal or earn an award in seven consecutive meets.

Running under the guidance and leadership of former RTHS harriers like Katherine Bakken and Britney Baez, Johnson will be looking to take her personal-best time (21:36.1) even lower this season, and she’ll be counted on for top times as the most experienced girl on the team.

“I want to be kind and welcoming to all of my teammates,” Johnson said. “This sport may not be the most fun for some people, but it’s a great way to build relationships, and I thought Katherine and Britney both made sure we stayed connected as a team and we ran with each other. I’d like for us to get back to sectionals as a team this season.”

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