Haitian native wins Minnesota high school sprint gold as an eighth grader

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Wensia Johnson never anticipated setting a Minnesota High School Athletic Association Class 2A meet record in the 100-meter dash, but she did so anyway. That she accomplished the feat before she has even attended a day of traditional high school makes her record all the more startling.

As noted by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, competing for Alexandria (Minn.) High, Johnson ran a 11.74-second 100-meter dash during the preliminary round of the Class 2A meet. That sub-12 second mark was good enough for a new meet record. A day later, Johnson was on the medal stand twice, first as the runner-up in the 100-meter dash and then as a champion in the 200 meters.

That Johnson is a top track talent may be unsurprising. That she has reached that pinnacle already is a bit of a shock. The precocious Alexandria student hails from Haiti, from where she and her younger sister were adopted in 2004.

Despite being thousands of miles away, Johnson insists Haiti is never far from her mind.

"When you're born in Haiti you don't have much chance," Johnson told the Star-Tribune. "So I'm doing it for all the children who don't think they can. They actually can, they just need a chance."

Now that she has received that chance, Johnson seems unlikely to let it ever pass her by in the future. As noted by the Alexandria Echo Press, even Johnson acknowledges she hasn't reached her potential just yet.

"It means a lot," Johnson told the Echo Press. "I've wanted this the whole year.

"I haven't reached [my ceiling]. I can do better."

That's a scary thought for anyone who plans on competing on a Minnesota track in the coming four years.

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