QA₂ Max PODCAST: Rachel Johnson, Baylor
NEW ORLEANS – There are three women who currently have the best odds of winning NCAAs in three weeks: Iowa State’s Crystal Nelson, Arizona State’s Shelby Houlihan, and Baylor’s Rachel Johnson. Each has one major win under her belt this fall: Nelson at Wisconsin, Houlihan at Roy Griak, and Johnson at Pre-Nationals. We caught up with Houlihan in the preseason, Nelson on Monday; Johnson is today’s QA₂ Max Podcast guest.
Like Houlihan’s, Johnson’s 2014 has been refreshingly filled with races. After a third-place finish at outdoor nationals at Eugene in the steeple, Johnson hit the Pacific Northwest for two more championship steeples. First, she faced off with the best American pros at USAs in Sacramento. Her fifth place/first collegian finish there proved that her NCAA finish was no fluke. (Every woman that beat Johnson at USAs ran in a Diamond League meet later that summer) Then, she travelled north to Kamloops, British Columbia and easily won the NACACs U-23 title.
This fall, Johnson has raced twice, and only lost to Houlihan. At Griak, she took second; then, three weeks later at Pre-Nats, she absolutely flattened the field, winning by 15 seconds. Before her Big 12 championship showdown with Nelson this weekend, she joined us to break down where her career’s gone and where she’s headed.