The senior played her first full tournament of the summer softball season with her ASA team, the New Jersey Gators, last weekend in Shamong. The centerfielder and leadoff hitter played in eight games.
"I was really sore," Johnson said. "But it was great to get the season started."
Johnson was so sore she needed an ice bath Sunday night. She didn't think there was much chance she could run her best at the track and field Meet of Champions on Monday night in Old Bridge.
"I was really nervous," Johnson said.
Johnson didn't run as well as ever in the final races of her career. She ran better than ever.
Johnson won the 100- and 200-meter dashes in what she swore was her last track meet. She went out with a double bang - winning both sprints against a collection of group champions from around the state of New Jersey.
"It's one of the best days of my life," said Johnson, The Inquirer's South Jersey Athlete of the Year for girls' track.
Shawnee track coach Beth Ritter said she is "amazed" at Johnson's ability to excel at the highest level of her No. 2 spring sport.
After all, Johnson didn't even participate in spring track until her junior year at Shawnee. That means her career as an outdoor sprinter spanned all of 15 months.
But like all great sprinters, Johnson packed a lot of superb action into a short period of time. She won five South Jersey Group 4 titles (two in the 100, two in the 400, and one in the 200), a Group 4 state title (100), and a pair of Meet of Champions titles (100 and 200), the latter on the same magical night.
"She's an amazing athlete," Ritter said. "She's just so naturally fast. We've never had anybody like her. And she's so competitive. She does not want to lose."
Johnson called her time in the Meet of Champions 100 meters "insane." She had never broken 12 seconds - running a best of 12.07 seconds in 2011 and 12.02 seconds in 2012 - before busting an 11.99 in her qualifying heat.
"That gave me a lot of confidence," Johnson said.
She was just warming up. She won the final in 11.82 seconds, the sixth-fastest time run by a South Jersey girl.
Willingboro's Michelle Glover set the record of 11.42 in 1981, and English Gardner, a University of Oregon sophomore who recently won the 100 meters at the NCAA championships, ran 11.56 for Eastern in 2010.
"I didn't think I could do that," Johnson said of her time.
Ritter called Johnson's performance "surreal," which also could apply to her short but spectacular career.
Johnson decided to run track at the suggestion of her travel softball coach, who thought it might help develop her natural speed. She hasn't dabbled in the sport - she trains hard and is a fierce competitor - but she spends much of her free time working on her softball game.
Johnson has signed a scholarship to play softball at Albany. She's a lefthanded swinger who can slap-bunt but also hit for power.
Ritter said Johnson could be a Division I athlete in track, perhaps developing into one of the better college sprinters in the country. She has that kind of speed and strength.
But Johnson said Monday night marked her final competition.
If so, she burned her spring-sports candle at both ends and made the loveliest of lights.
"I'm sad," Johnson said of the end of her track career. "But softball has always been my No. 1 sport. We just started tournaments, so it's good to get back into things. But I loved running track."
Contact Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223, email@example.com, or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports