By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – Bristol Central running sensation Spencer Johnson has been one of the best at what he does on the track, outdoor or indoors and on a course like Rockwell Park for more than a couple years now.
And, with his kind of talent, there’s no surprise that Johnson was going to pursue the sport at the next level.
On Thursday, April 11, Johnson signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Marist College and run for the Red Foxes this coming fall in its cross country program.
But while the signing was certainly a big deal, Johnson isn’t finished running for the Rams as the spring scholastic season is currently underway.
However, he’s left quite a legacy for himself over the years for Central.
Johnson had one heck of a senior campaign on the cross country course in 2012 and was a force in the Class L meet.
He finished third in the Class L’s with a time of 16:54 which was just eight seconds behind the first place time at Manchester’s Wickham Park back on October 27.
At that meet, Johnson led his squad to an eighth place finish, which capped another remarkable fall scholastic campaign.
Spencer also participated on the 2010 squad that won the Class L championship on a team that proved to be one of the greatest cross country teams the Mum City ever saw.
That championship team produced some of the best runners Central high school has ever had on that championship squad.
From Connor Kelley, Mike Duprey, Jacob Eschner, Ethan Washburn, and Jake Mancini, those were the featured runners but the sixth man of that crew was sophomore Spencer Johnson.
And Johnson’s 47th placing in that championship event was better than a third of the other team’s first place finishers.
With a final time of 17:58, it was just the tip of the iceberg in what would be a brilliant career for Johnson.
Then in indoor track, Johnson has also shown his outstanding ability and has made the 3200 meters, a two-mile event, one of his premier events.
At the CCC Championships from Hillhouse High School on Saturday, Jan. 26 of this year, Johnson was a second place winner in the 3200 (9:55.00) and in the mile event, he took seventh (4:41.99).
On Feb. 15, Johnson won a Class L state championship in the 3,200 meters during indoor track season, finishing the race in 9:47.73, which was over six seconds better than the second place finisher.
Johnson also qualified for the State Open challenge this year as well.
In the Open on Feb. 16, Johnson finished the event in a credible 13th place with a final time of 9:50.06.
Johnson’s time of 9:50.06 is his career best in the event (indoor) while he will look to build upon his 2012 outdoor best of 9:54.15 and certainly will surpass that mark sometime this spring.
Marist participates in NCAA Division I athletics and the school is located in beautiful Poughkeepsie, N.Y., affiliated with the MAAC.
The Marist men’s cross country team had over 30 runners on it in 2012 and only one was from the Nutmeg state.
Last season, the Red Foxes ran in Connecticut three times in 2012 and when Johnson is a freshman next season, there might be a chance to see him in a couple races on the NCAA level within the state.