Johnson Routs Field to Win NCAA 110-Meter Hurdles National Title

From Sports Information Director, May 26, 2012 | Men's Track & Field
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

CLAREMONT, Calif. - If anyone watching the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championship didn't know about St. Norbert College freshman Justin Johnson before this weekend, they certainly do now.

Johnson destroyed the nine-man field in the finals of the 110-meter hurdles at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges' Burns Track Complex, winning the event by almost one-half second. Johnson ran a staggering 13.79 seconds, which broke a 19-year-old NCAA record of 13.86 seconds. His time easily outdistanced McMurry University's Junior Saint Preux's runner-up time of 14.26 seconds.

"He is typically a slow starter but at the first hurdle he was in the hunt," St. Norbert coach Don Augustine said. "When he got to hurdle three he dropped the hammer and it was over by hurdle four. To win a national meet as a freshman is unbelievable."

Johnson's time also surpassed the U.S. Olympic Trials' provisional qualifying standard. A total of 32 runners will be selected in the 110-meter hurdles, and if there aren't enough to fill that amount from the automatic qualifying time of 13.52 seconds, Johnson could find himself competing against the nation's best next month in Eugene, Ore.

"Who knows, we could be heading to Oregon," Augustine said.

Johnson's best time prior to the NCAA outdoor meet was 14.16 seconds last weekend at the North Central College Last Chance Meet. He bettered that time with a 14.15 in Friday's qualifying but shattered that time with his championship performance.

"If you don't believe you're going to win you've already lost," Johnson said.

Johnson joins Ben Dreyer and Colin McKean as St. Norbert male national champions. Dreyer won the outdoor 400-meter run in 2001 and 2002, and McKean won the indoor 800-meter run in 2004.