Emily Johnson rewrites school cross country records


Jack Hoover

Emily Johnson running
Johnson at last season’s Summit League championship. Photo courtesy of Omavs.com.

Omaha cross country junior Emily Johnson didn’t know she’d be a school record holder this season.

But after running at the Bradley Pink Classic on Oct. 18, that’s exactly what she was.

Running in the meet’s “Red” race, Johnson crossed the finish line with a time of 21:12.9. That time would be enough to break the Omaha cross country 6 kilometer record by almost half a minute. The previous record holder for the Mavericks was Anja Puc, who ran a 21:39 at the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship in 2010.

While Johnson may not have fully expected to break the nine-year-old record this season, she credits her teammates for pushing her to this point.

“I was pretty excited about [getting the record],” Johnson said. “But I know that we’ve all been working together as a team and pushing each other.”

Getting to this point has not been easy, however, for Johnson. Practices for cross country began in the grueling summer heat as the team worked on conditioning and getting in shape. Even as the season progressed, workouts have not gotten much easier, as the team continues to work on improving their times through intensive practices.

The results of all the hard work are showing for the Mavericks. Johnson also credits the work her coach Cliff Cisar has done in helping her get the record and overall improving the team.

“It points back to his coaching,” Johnson said. “This year is the fastest that any team at UNO, as average team time goes, has run.”

That seemed to be evident at the Bradley Pink Classic, as Johnson was not the only Maverick running a personal best. Omaha’s Heidi Hall, Anita Jenkins, Joanna Topham and Ivanna Uribe all ran personal bests on the course, and the team finished in 14th place.

Johnson and her fellow Mavericks will have a few chances to continue improving on those times this season. While the Bradley Pink Classic was the last regular season race of the year, Omaha will be heading to the Summit League Championships in Fargo, North Dakota, on Nov. 2. The Mavericks will look to better last season’s performance, as they placed sixth in the Summit League in 2018.

“Since this is the fastest that the [Omaha] team has been at as an average, running together and pushing each other would be a team goal,” said Johnson. “Getting that team average higher would be awesome.”

After competing in the Summit League championship, the Mavericks will be in action one last time this season, heading to the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship on Nov. 15.