MGX's Cha'iel Johnson Is Living Up To The Hype At AAU Club Championships



This article was written on July 14, 2017, after Cha'iel Johnson's incredible AAU Club Nationals performance. This year you can catch all the AAU Club Nationals action live on FloTrack. Click here to watch from July 6, 2018, to July 14, 2018.   


By Johanna Gretschel, FloTrack; Link

Cha'iel Johnson might have a famous dad in former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson, previously known as Ochocinco, but she's making headlines all on her own this week at the AAU National Club Championships in Orlando, Florida.

The 12-year-old has already won two events and still has the 400m final left to go on Saturday. Her time of 2:14.80 in the 800m set a new AAU Club Nationals record and won the competition by almost a full second. 

Note: This national record is different from records at the AAU Junior Olympics, which holds separate marks at the national and age group level. They are not under the same umbrella. While Johnson's 2:14.80 was a national record at the AAU Club Championships, the AAU Jr. Olympic national record for 12-year-olds stands at 2:13.30, which was set by Daesha Rogers in 2011. The world age group record for 12-year-olds is 2:06.90, which is held by Raevyn Rogers and was set in 2009. 

Johnson's 1500m win was more dominant as she clocked 4:47.92 (with a 71-second closing lap!) to distance the runner-up by 10 seconds. That was also her first-ever 1500m race. 

Note: This time also demolishes the old US No. 1 for 12-year-olds. Johnson bested Krianne McBride's 4:56.99 by nearly 10 seconds. The world age group record for the 1500 is 4:24.96 and is held by Georgie Clarke of Melbourne, Australia. It was set in 1997. 

The 400m will be her toughest race yet. She ran 59.38 in the preliminary round, the third-fastest qualifier behind Olicia Lucas, who ran 59.34, and Kylee Bernard, who ran 59.38--just milliseconds ahead of Johnson's time. 

However, Johnson's personal best of 56.48 is the fastest in the field and leads the nation among 12-year-olds. All three athletes won their respective heats.

A six-time Pro Bowler, Chad Johnson gave a quick interview to FLrunners after his daughter's 400m prelim:

Another AAU record is within reach for the mini speed demon. Ashton Lindley set the AAU Club Nationals 12-year-old 400m record at 55.76 in 2014.

There's plenty to look forward to after Saturday, as Chad revealed on Twitter that Cha'iel will also compete in Kansas at the USATF Junior Olympics and Michigan at the AAU Junior Olympics later this summer.

Cha'iel represents Miami Gardens Xpress (MGX) and is coached by Darius Lawshea, who also oversees the training and development of high school phenom Tyrese Cooper, the national high school record holder for 300m.

MileSplit National Content Producer Cory Mull contributed to this report

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