Paine College star getting her future on track

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Baeisha Johnson is focused on the future. She’s just unsure what it holds.

Paine College assistant track coach Lionel Nau (left) has set up meets in Europe for Baeisha Johnson.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Paine College assistant track coach Lionel Nau (left) has set up meets in Europe for Baeisha Johnson.

One day, she wants to get a barber license. Then again, she might want to help disadvantaged children. Of course, she also might want to make use of the accounting degree she earned in May from Paine College.

“I want to do a lot of stuff,” she said.

All of that will have to wait. After finishing second in the long jump in the NCAA Division II Track and Field Outdoor Championships in last month, Johnson has her future mapped out for a while. The Brunswick, Ga., native is about to embark on a professional career on the overseas track circuit. Johnson leaves June 22 for her first meet in Europe.

“I’m just ready,” the 22-year-old said. “I don’t know what’s next. I don’t know what to expect.”

Paine assistant track coach Lionel Nau said he has lined up three meets already for her in Europe. Likely, she’ll begin in France, he said.

“Once she gets in those meets, with the adrenalin and competition,” Nau said, “I think she has a chance to go far.”

Johnson said she plans to compete in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter events. And there’s the long jump, her premier event.

After focusing on plyometrics to help her recover from a torn meniscus she suffered during basketball season her junior year, Johnson came back as strong as ever this spring.

She won the long jump in five meets this season, and she almost came away with the top prize. At the NCAA Division II Championships, she placed second with a leap of 6.19 meters (20 feet, 3 inches).

Her focus now is to reach the 6.45-meter mark, the provisional qualifying mark to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. After the national championships, she returned to Brunswick to try to find sponsors for her trek – she said plane tickets alone will cost her $1,600 – and to work on becoming faster to try to gain additional length on her jumps.

“I’m going to get that mark this summer,” she said. “I’m going to make U.S. Nationals next year.”

If she obtains her goal this summer, she’ll work on finding an agent. Then, Johnson will continue focusing on track – and will put all her other dreams on hold.

“As long as I can make money and make a living off of it,” she said, “I’ll do it as long as I can.”


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