Shawnee's Annie Johnson adds two more crowns

Lenape's Shaya Wilkerson runs the first leg of the girls' 4x100 heat at the Meet of Champions. Lenape won in 3 minutes, 51.43 seconds.
Lenape's Shaya Wilkerson runs the first leg of the girls' 4x100 heat at the Meet of Champions. Lenape won in 3 minutes, 51.43 seconds. (DAVID M WARREN / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 12, 2012

OLD BRIDGE, N.J. - There are lots of ways to prepare for the biggest races of the track season.

Annie Johnson's unique method was to play eight games of softball.

Johnson, a Shawnee senior who has signed to attend the University of Albany on a softball scholarship, ended her track career with two claps of thunder by winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the Meet of Champions Monday night at Vince Lombardi Field.

Johnson ran a personal-best time of 11.82 seconds in the 100 and 24.55 in the 200.

"That's insane," Johnson said of her 100 time. She never had broken 12 seconds before running 11.99 in her qualifying heat.

In other highlights of the meet that brought together the state's top track and field athletes, Oakcrest senior Fabian Santiago became just the second boy to win three events at the Meet of Champions with victories in the 100 (10.59) and 200 (21.52) as well as an anchor leg on the Falcons' victorious 4x100 relay.

"It all goes back to the training we do," Santiago said.

The only other boy to win three events was Winslow Township's Reuben McCoy, who won the 200, 400 and intermediate hurdles in 2004.

Johnson played eight games for her ASA team, the New Jersey Gators, in a tournament in Shamong in Burlington County over the weekend. She said she needed an ice-bath to soothe her legs on Sunday night.

"I was really nervous about this because my legs were so sore," Johnson said.

Johnson said she got off to a "great start" in the 100 finals and never hesitated in pulling away from the field. North Brunswick senior Kaitlyn Davis, who has tied Johnson in the Group 4 state final on June 2, was second in 11.96.

"It was the last 100 of my life," Johnson said.

Shawnee coach Beth Ritter called Johnson's victories "surreal" given her circumstances.

Johnson played softball as a freshman and sophomore at Shawnee but decided to run track as a junior to see how her speed would translate to another sport.

Fifteen months later, she was the fastest girl in the state.

Santiago won the 100 comfortably, as Ocean Township's Mike Andre was second in 10.74 and Cherry Hill East senior Brian Regan was third in a personal-best time of 10.76.

Santiago was challenged in the 200 but held on the victory.

"No way they were catching me," Santiago said.

Oakcrest junior Daniel Jefferson won the high jump with a personal-best leap of 6 feet, 6 inches. The top six finishers in the event all jumped 6-6, but Jefferson took first on fewest misses.

"I'm shocked," Jefferson said. "I came here just hoping to get a medal. I never thought I would win."

Oakcrest literally got off to a fast start as the Falcons won the 4x100 relay early in the meet. The team of Stephen Adkission, Reggie Morton, Darnell Charles and Santiago won the race in a time of 42.09.


Contact Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223, panastasia@phillynews.com, or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.

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