West Ouachita High School senior sprinter Andre Johnson is keeping it local.
Johnson officially signed with the University of Louisiana at Monroe track and field team on Wednesday.
Johnson, the state runner-up in the LHSAA Class 4A 400-meter dash and a favorite across District 2-4A and the state again this season, said the decision came down to home and family.
“It is right at home,” Johnson said. “It is close to my family.”
Johnson is the second West Ouachita sprinter to sign a Division I scholarship following Gabe Tumey signing with Northwestern State last year.
“I think it is great to just be opening doors for people,” Johnson said. “It helps others get looks from schools.”
Johnson ran a 49.12 seconds in the 400-meters last year at the Class 4A state championships in Baton Rouge.
Johnson has been motivated every day since then to improve himself.
“I want to be second to none,” Johnson said. “I am striving to get records. I want to run my fastest time (this year).”
While Johnson runs the 400-meter, 800-meter, and competes with the 4×200-meter and 4×400-meter relay teams, it is the 400-meter gold that he covets most.
“He has his goal set,” West Ouachita coach Jay Watson said. “His mind is set on the 400-meters at state.”
Watson said that Johnson is already ahead of schedule for the year on his 200-meter time.
“He didn’t break 50 seconds until the regionals last year,” Watson said. “He is already below 50 now and so he is about three months ahead of schedule. I think he is in line for a good time as it get warmer (outside).”
Watson said that Johnson will set himself apart at ULM by his work ethic.
“He is like any other great athlete, he has a strong work ethic,” Watson said. “He is very self-driven. I think ULM is really getting a steal with this young man.”
West Ouachita will host the District 2-4A championship meet next Thursday, April 23. The state championships will be at Bernie Moore Track at LSU in Baton Rouge on May 9.
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