Tahoma High track star flies farther with every leap

Tahoma senior Savannah Johnson reached another goal in her track career Saturday at the Arcadia Invitational in Arcadia, Calif.

For the first time, Johnson broke the 40-foot mark in the triple jump, reaching 40 feet, 6 inches, finishing third at the prestigious meet.

“We wanted to go down there because it is the best competition,” Johnson said. “The California girls are very good.”

Johnson traveled with Andrea Geubelle from Curtis High and Nate Wilford, who coaches her club team, The Flying AJ’s. Johnson’s father also attended the meet.

Johnson and Geubelle are both ranked in the top 10 nationally in the triple jump.

“Andrea and I train together,” Johnson said. “She pushes me.”

Along with the triple jump, Johnson ran the 200-meter sprint in a time of 25.72 seconds, a personal best time, although she did not make the finals.

Johnson’s top event, the triple jump, was the biggest success.

“I haven’t been able to get my foot on the board (this season),” Johnson said. “I’ve really been working on my run up. At Arcadia I still couldn’t get my foot on the board. I finally got on and it felt great.”

When Johnson “got her foot on the board” she broke the 40-foot mark.

“I barely touched the board. It could have been 41,” Johnson said.

The young track star has now set her goal at reaching 42 feet by the end of the season, and all bets are she will make it.

Once Johnson graduates from Tahoma High, she will attend a college where she can study business and continue her track career. She has not decided which college to attend yet.

Johnson began her track career during middle school and rose into the national ranks between her sophomore and junior year.

Wilford, her club team coach, has worked with her since she was a sophomore.

“He is the wisest person in world,” Johnson said. “I never believed I could jump 40 feet, but he believed in me. Last year he told me I would jump 38 feet and I did it. You have to have trust in your coach.”