Kyree Johnson is one of the nation's top-ranked sprinters across the board: he's U.S. No. 2 in the 400m (48.09), U.S. No. 5 in the 300m (34.49) and U.S. No. 8 in the 55m (6.43). His favorite event is the quarter mile, which he won at the New York State Championship last year as a junior. He also won the New Balance Nationals Outdoor Emerging Elite 400m in 47.75, his all-time personal record. But the dual-sport athlete, who plays cornerback and wide receiver on the football team in the fall, says his most memorable achievement was winning New Balance Nationals Outdoor in the 4x400m relay with his Huntington High School teammates. They ran 3:10.93 to break the New York state record by two seconds. We chatted with him about his impressive runs and unadulterated love for New York pizza.
Jojo: How would you evaluate your fitness and what were your expectations for your first meets this year?
Kyree: During the summer, I trained a little with my coach three-four times per week. When the fall season came, I played football to keep in shape and keep myself ready for the upcoming track season. After winning nationals indoor and outdoor for the 4x400m relay, my expectations were high for the first meet.
What are your goals for the indoor season?
Win another national title. Help out my teammates and others that are not on my team reach their personal bests and be the best they can be.
You helped Huntington High School break the New York state record in the 4x400m relay last spring. What did that achievement mean to you? Was that the highlight of your career so far?
That achievement feels soo good to have. Knowing that your name is up there with some of the best athletes that ever ran in New York is mind-blowing and an amazing feeling for not only myself, but also my coaches.
Kyree Johnson is a star relay performer. Check out his impressive 46.8 anchor leg in the 4x400m at the Ocean Breeze Holiday Festival below. [Huntington places second].
What position do you play in football and why is the sport important for your conditioning and development as a track athlete? Which sport do you like better/identify more with?
I started at cornerback for my school and also played wide receiver. instead of running cross country, I played football to keep my body in shape. I enjoy playing football; I've played it since I was six. But my love is for track.
Can you describe a typical week of training?
Monday: strength training, jumping, blocks work, baton passing
Tuesday: speed work, weight room cardio work
Thursday: speed (if no meet on friday)
Friday: easy rest day (if no meet)
Saturday: track meet
Sunday: rest :)
When/where is your next race? What events will you compete in?
This Friday and Saturday, Jan. 6-7 at Dartmouth Relays. I will be running the 55m dash, the SMR and the 4x400m relay.
What do you think you can improve on? What's your biggest weakness?
I think I can improve on all my times for every race as long as I work hard. I feel as if my biggest weakness is losing. Nobody likes to lose and I hate to let my team and my coaches down.
What is your favorite event?
My favorite event has to be the 400m.
What kind of food do you usually eat? Do you keep a strict diet?
I don't have a strict diet but my favorite food is New York pizza. Best pizza in the country.
Watch Kyree Johnson clock 48.09 for 400m, the second-fastest time in the nation this season:
Favorite movie: RACE
Website you spend the most time on: Milesplit.com, of course
Favorite athlete: Le'veon Bell
Inspirational quote: "If what you did yesterday still looks big to you, you haven't done much today"
Favorite food (when you're not training vs. when you are training): Pizza all around.
Describe the perfect day in the life of Kyree Johnson: Waking up to a nice breakfast and going to a track meet. Watch my teammates be successful in their individual events, be successful myself and then finally come together to win a relay. After a meet, go out to dinner with family, friends, and loved ones. At the end of the day, PARTY :)
For more information on how to watch Kyree Johnson race at the Dartmouth Relays, check out the meet page here and the links below: