The sky is the limit for West Valley High School track and field athlete Terrel Johnson.
Johnson, who according to West Valley running coaches, currently holds top-three performances in the state this year for high jump, long jump, and 300-meter hurdles, signed a National Letter of Intent with the NCAA Division II track and field program at Colorado State University Pueblo during a ceremony Tuesday afternoon in the West Valley gymnasium.
CSU Pueblo is coached by Matt Morris, a Lathrop High School graduate.
In this season’s first Region VI All-Schools meet this season on April 9, Johnson leaped to a 6-foot, 6-inch first place finish in the high jump, far surpassing his 6-0 jump from last year’s Alaska School Activities Association State Championship.
High jump is one of the events Johnson is planning to compete for the CSU Pueblo Thunderwolves.
“You’re naturally talented and the sky is the limit, literally, you’re going to be up there in the sky, jumping,” joked Johnson’s mother, Virgie. “I think you get it from me.”
At the signing, West Valley running coach Dan Callahan commented on Johnson’s performance in last year’s state meet as an example of the strengths that Johnson will bring to the Thunderwolves.
“I know that he was disappointed by his high-jump finish at state last year, but the very next week he went out and broke the school record at a meet in Kodiak,” Callahan said. “That is a great upside as an athlete. He has a great attitude even after a big disappointment. He went right out and got back on top of his game. That’s an attitude all of us can be inspired by.”
Johnson will be joining a CSU Pueblo team which placed fourth in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships on April 26-28 in Rapid City, South Dakota. The Thunderwolves also finished 12th in the 2018 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
“Terrel never stops smiling, and he’s always helping his teammates out. Those are characteristics you want from a leader and from an athlete that’s going to go to college,” said West Valley track and field coach Milo Griffin.
Johnson said that his family helped him make the decision to attend Colorado State Pueblo, and his mother is planning to move to the area. He also mentioned the school’s mascot as an additional benefit.
“They’re the Thunderwolves, and I thought ‘That’s an upgrade.’ Junior league was Wolfpups, West Valley is Wolfpack, now it’ll be Thunderwolves. It’s meant to be,” Johnson said.
Shoma Johnson, Terrel’s father, praised Johnson’s athleticism, and the hard work he has put in order to compete at the college level.
“I’m so proud that one of my own is going to college, and with a scholarship,” Shoma Johnson said. “I’m just over the moon.”
Contact the News-Miner sports department at 459-7586.