Jabari Johnson

Spotlight on You: Jabari Johnson

Johnson's goals changed as times kept dropping

by: Dave Ornauer | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: June 04, 2016

Setting personal records and northwest Pacific marks became routine this season for Jabari Johnson.

Almost too routine, Johnson said.

“I’ve been breaking records” since a year after moving to Japan from West Florida High School in Pensacola in summer 2013, “so it got old to me,” the Nile C. Kinnick senior sprinter said.

Three times during his just-completed senior season alone, Johnson beat his own northwest Pacific records in the 100- , 200- and 400-meter dashes, records he had set during his junior year and continually lowered as his final season progressed.

“Break several records, do it again next week,” his coach, Luke Voth, said.

What he really wanted, Johnson said, was for his Red Devils to win the Kanto Plain league season title and finals meet championship, then capture a clean sweep of all three Far East meet Division I banners, boys, girls and combined school titles.

Kinnick did just that, becoming the first school in the seven-season Far East meet era to sweep the Division I banners, as well as capture their league titles.

Johnson ended his senior season as the region and Kanto record-holder in the 100 (10.78 seconds), 200 (21.23) and 400 (48.25), as well as leading Kinnick to the region record in the 400-meter relay (42.88). His marks as a junior were 10.92, 21.87 and 48.99.

On top of that, he holds the Far East meet marks in the 100 and 200, 10.79 and 21.23, set on May 19 in the preliminaries in each event.

For all those accolades, Johnson has been named Stars and Stripes Pacific high school boys track and field Athlete of the Year.

“I feel great with all that I accomplished over these three years. I’m proud of myself for going as far as I could,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s northwest Pacific 200 mark is 47th in the nation among 82,811 athletes listed at Athletic.net

But after a while, even repeatedly beating his own region marks wasn’t enough, Johnson said. “It started off with me running for myself, but over time, I started running for my team.”

Going into Far East, he wasn’t sure, Johnson said, if Kinnick or any other school had ever swept the Far East banners. Kadena came close in 2011, winning the combined and the boys but tying with Seoul American for the girls team title.

“That makes it even more special for me,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s influence each day in practice helped lead his sprint teammates, juniors Rashad Samuels and Chauncey Jamerson, to a Kinnick sweep of the top three places in the 100 in the Far East finals, 10.83, 11.18 and 10.29.

“Sweeping the boys 100 was something Jabari was pretty proud of his teammates,” Voth said.

Johnson described his three years of running for Kinnick as “amazing. I’m glad I spent my seasons here,” he said.

ornauer.dave@stripes.com

Twitter: @ornauer_stripes

Best Pacific boys track marks, 2016 season

(Includes athletes competing in leagues with DODEA-Pacific teams)

100—Jabari Johnson, Nile C. Kinnick, 10.78 seconds (northwest Pacific record)

200—Johnson, 21.23 (northwest Pacific record)

400—Johnson, 48.25 (northwest Pacific record)

800—Britt Sease, American School In Japan, 1 minute, 54.63 seconds (northwest Pacific record)

1,500—Evan Yukevich, ASIJ, 4:14.39

1,600—Daniel Galvin, Yokota, 4:18.23 (northwest Pacific record)

3,000—Jordan Van Druff, Christian Academy Japan, 9:45.67

3,200—Galvin, 9:38.13 (Kanto Plain league record)

110 hurdles—Johnny Quitugua, John F. Kennedy, Guam, 15.39

300 hurdles—DeAndre Rosalie, Daegu, South Korea, 41.26

400 relay—Kinnick, 42.88 (northwest Pacific record)

1,600 relay—ASIJ, 3:23.24 (northwest Pacific record)

3,200 relay—Okinawa Christian International, 8:19.12

Shot put—Christian Sonnenberg, Yokota, 14.92 meters

Discus—Sonnenberg, 56.40 (northwest Pacific record)

Javelin—Donovan Johnson, Guam High, 44.16

High jump—Donte Savoy, Kadena, 1.91

Long jump—Jarvis Stokes, Daegu, 6.50

Triple jump—Quitugua, 12.68

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