Versatile Star

Feb. 13, 2006

School record in the triple jump in both indoor and outdoor competition.
Seventh on Iowa’s all-time best performers list for her 1,600-meter time.
Second on Iowa’s all-time bests list for her 60-meter hurdles time.
A school record in the 100-meter hurdles.

And all of this in her sophomore season.

With two more seasons to improve upon her success, the future looks bright for Iowa track and field star Tiffany Johnson.

“She adds discipline and dedication. She adds quality of performance. She’s just a quality person,” said Head Coach James Grant.

Based on her high school career, it should come as no surprise that Johnson is excelling at the collegiate level.

Johnson was a triple jump state champion as a freshman and was third her senior year at Danville High School in Danville, Illinois. She was also an all-state and all-conference selection. While her triple jump was impressive, it was her overall ability that amazed Grant.

“She was very versatile and did a number of events at the state meet; that caught my eye,” he said.

Whereas Grant was excited about adding Johnson to his program, she was excited about being far away from home, but at the same time being close enough to still go home when she wanted.

Her freshman year started out with a bang. In indoor competition, she led her team in the 60-meter hurdles and the triple jump, winning both at the Hawkeye Invite and the Gold Country Classic. However her season ended suddenly.

“Her freshman year, she got hurt late in the indoor season. She was out about 5-6 weeks. That set her back quite a bit,” said Grant.

She was able to bounce back during the outdoor season, leading her team in the triple jump.

Last year, Johnson really showed what she is capable of accomplishing. In indoor competition, she led her team in the triple jump, 60-meter hurdles and anchored her team in the 1,600-meter relay. She placed fifth in the 60-meter hurdles at the Big Ten Championships and set a school record with her triple jump performance of 39-7 ¾.

Her outdoor season was even better. She broke her triple jump record by jumping 40-9 ½ at the Mt. SAC Relays. At the Big Ten Championships, she placed second in the 100-meter hurdles, with a school record time of 13.57. She placed 14th at the NCAA Midwest Regional with a time of 13.95 in the 100-meter hurdles.

While she accomplished many things, Johnson is proud of how she managed to balance her athletic life with her personal life.

“I’m proud of being able to keep everything together after some personal problems that I had my sophomore year,” she said.

Johnson has continued to improve this year. She ran a personal-best 25.36 in the 200-meter dash and was a part of Iowa’s winning 1,600-meter relay team in the first meet of the season. She has won the 60-meter hurdles twice this year and set an indoor record when she qualified for the NCAA Championship with a time of 8.33.

While it’s still early in the season, Johnson is happy with what she’s done so far.

“I’m moving really well. I’m satisfied with my times for now, but I know I need to improve more before the Big Ten Championships,” she said.

After Johnson’s performance at the Meyo Invitational on Feb. 4, Grant was impressed with her ability to keep up with one of the best hurdler’s in the country.

“I think she’s coming along pretty well. She was having a remarkable time… had she not hit the third hurdle. I thought she was on track to hurdle qualifying time because she was almost neck-and-neck with the girl who won,” he said.

With one more meet until the Big Ten Championships on Feb. 25 and 26, Johnson is staying focused on her dreams.

“I want to be a Big Ten Champion,” she said.

The Hawkeyes compete this Friday at the Iowa Invitational. The event starts at 4:30 p.m. at the UI Recreation Building.

written by Jennifer Bissell, Iowa Sports Information