CEDAR RAPIDS — Behind every great athlete is a great coach.
Behind every Cedar Rapids Xavier hurdler is coach Korey Johnson.
Johnson has found ways to motivate his runners on and off the track.
“I send emails and podcasts to athletes to help them with the mental side of the sport,” Johnson said. “If we believe that we have the ability to accomplish big things, we are much more likely to do so.”
Junior hurdler Libby Arnold found the podcasts and motivational emails to be helpful.
“I love that coach Johnson sends us emails with podcasts because it helps me stay calm and focused before my meets,” Arnold said.
Growing up, Johnson never thought track would be a sport he would enjoy coaching.
“I was initially just helping a friend out who said the Xavier track program could use another coach,” he said. “After working one year with the kids and being a part of the program, I was hooked.
“Often, the best part of my day is when I get to track and work with the girls and guys on the track team.”
Not only does Johnson support his athletes during track season, but in their other sports as well.
“It is nice knowing that coach Johnson finds time out of his busy life to come and cheer us on in our other sports,” Arnold said. “It really shows that he cares about us outside of track.”
Johnson tries to make it to his runners’ activities because he believes in multisport athletes.
“I love the fact that the athletes run track, but I know that is just a small part of their lives,” Johnson said. “I am more concerned about supporting the individuals in what drives them to be their best instead of solely thinking of them as a track athlete.”
Johnson wants to see his runners succeed and take a trip to the state meet in May.
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“My biased goal, as I work with hurdlers, is to take as many of them as possible to the state meet, but I would love nothing more than to see sprint and distance relays compete at the highest level, as well,” Johnson said.
State is not the only goal Johnson wants his runners to accomplish this season.
“More than anything, I want each individual to grow throughout the year,” he said. “Track is a great sport for this because you can always race against yourself and chase personal bests.”
The girls’ and boys’ track teams will compete on Saturday at Kingston Stadium in Cedar Rapids.