A few weeks ago, we ran a feature story on Kapolei freshman Trey Johnson, a runner who has shown impressive improvement in the 400-meter run over the past nine months.
He went from running the 400 at 56 seconds early last summer to 53 after training with Leeward Track Club and coach Tony Jones.
This spring, he brought his 400 time down from 51 to 50.8 to 50.6 over the course of three varsity events.
Today, the 6-foot-2 phenom ran the 400 in 50.17 at the OIA West JV Championships.
“I felt OK. Just afterward, I felt drained because I didn’t eat that much all day. I wasn’t hungry,” he said on Saturday night.
He’s faced some basic challenges as a young runner, such as a tendency to get out of the blocks a little too quick. He has worked diligently on that and more.
“It felt normal like all the races. (Halfway), I felt like I was running faster than my previous races. The kick felt good. I didn’t lose my form,” Johnson said.
Unlike the 50.6 performance at the Cal Track/Ruby Tuesday races when he was pushed hard — and finished second — he was mostly on his own today. He had one goal in mind for the 400.
“I was hoping for 50.5. I felt like I ran that fast,” he said.
Then he found out about the 50.17.
“I was surprised. It means I’m a step closer to 49,” Johnson said.
He will skip the OIA West championships next week to run in the OIA JV championships. Then the OIA varsity championships follow a week later.
True, running a sub-50.2 in a divisional championship meet isn’t quite the same as doing it at the varsity state championships, but his new PR time would place him among the top eight, compared to the field in last year’s HHSAA event.
The two returnees from that top eight — six were seniors who have since graduated — are Justin Main of St. Francis (49.63) and Izaiah Lavatai of Radford (50.44). Johnson’s goal this spring is to bring his time down to 49 seconds. Whether that’s realistic, only he and the Lord above would know.
But let’s face it. Bringing a 400 time down from 56 seconds to 50.17 in less than a year is beyond remarkable. At this point, 49 flat wouldn’t be a shock.