Senior Justin Johnson had a goal for his first outdoor meet of 2008: to break the Cal State Northridge decathlon record. He achieved that goal on Thursday.
Johnson scored 7,473 at the 81st Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays at the University of Texas, breaking the 26-year-old Northridge record set by Ken Terry in 1982.
“What a tribute to Justin and the way he has trained,” said head coach Don Strametz. “To get that record after 26 years is phenomenal.”
Johnson’s performance was also a career-best. His previous personal best was set at the 2006 Big West Championships, where he scored 7, 135 points. His performance at the Texas Relays gave him a sixth place finish and was just short of an NCAA automatic qualifying score of 7,500.
Johnson, recently named an All-American for his performance in the hepthathlon at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., set several career-bests in his record-setting performance.
Johnson had redshirted the 2007 outdoor season in order to gain a full year of training before competing his senior year, he said.
“”Just work as hard as possible and come back and try to qualify for the nationals, indoor and outdoor,” Johnson said.
On Wednesday, the first day of the meet, Johnson set a career-best in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.03 and a eighth place finish. After his 22-4.24 (6.81) distance in the long jump gave him a seventh place finish, Johnson set another personal best in the shot put with a distance of 40-11.75 (12.49), placing 14th. He won the high jump with another career-best performance, jumping 6-11 (2.11) and then ran 48.84 in the 400-meters, another career-best, for a third place finish. After the first day of competition, Johnson had accumulated a career-best 4,034 points.
On Thursday, Johnson took third in the 100-meter hurdles with a personal-best time of 14.14, then placed 13th in the discuss with a throw of 120-9 (36.81). Johnson set another personal-best in the pole vault, with a height of 14-7.25 (4.45), tying for seventh in that event. He threw the javelin 139-8 (42.58) for a 17th place finish and ran 4:43.85 in the 1,500 meters.
Strametz said that Johnson’s performance is also a tribute to coaches Avery Anderson and Bridget Pearson.
“Bridgett really worked with him on the pole vault and that’s the event that really put him over the top,” Strametz said.
Stramatz complimented Johnson’s work ethic and leadership.
“Everyone on this team recognizes him as a team leader,” Strametz said.
Desirae Gonder competed in the heptathlon, but did not finish after deciding not to run in the 800 meters, the final event. Gonder started the competition on Wednesday with a career-best time of 14.84 in the 100-meter hurdles, finishing in 15th place. She tied for first in the high jump with a height of 5-8.75, then placed 19th in the shot put with a distance of 26-7.25 (8.11). Gonder finished the day with a 10th place finish in the 200-meters, posting a time of 26.02. Her first day point total was 2,980.
On Thursday, Gonder did not score in the long jump, after fouling on her only attempt. She threw the javelin 77-10 (23.72) for a 16th place finish, then decided not to run the final event.
Other CSUN athletes concluding their events on Thursday included junior Morgan Bogard, finishing seventh in the women’s hammer throw with a distance of 182-4 (55.58) and junior Cody Pearce, who finished 11th in the men’s hammer throw with a distance of 188-5 (57.44).
Twelve CSUN athletes competed in the Texas Relays, which ran through Saturday.