Some horrible luck cost Megan Johnson a probable state championship Saturday. The Norman cross country star, who dominated Class 6A this year, fell ill early last week, had to miss several days of school and still had a fever just two days ago. When she took off at the start of the 6A state championship at Mitch Park Saturday, she knew immediately she wasn’t going to be able to perform at her usual level in her weakened state.
She ended up placing 35th and took over 13 minutes to finish for the first time in her career. This is a girl who ran every race but two in under 12 minutes.
Johnson and Tulsa Union’s Sarah Daggett were the favorites to win, but Daggett was off Saturday and placed fifth. How Johnson would have done if healthy is impossible to predict. But consider this: If she had posted the time she had in any race but two this season, she would have won. Those are pretty good odds.
Another shame is that a lot of people shrugged it off, saying “She’s just a sophomore. She’s got plenty of time to win a state title.” That’s not good logic. You never know what’s going to happen. The sport of girls cross country more than any other is littered with runners who excelled as freshmen and progressively got worse. It’s a common thing in the sport, unfortunately.
Now, that’s not likely to happen to Johnson. And, in fact, she does already have a state championship (in the 3,200 meters in track). But it’s just a case of misfortune that Johnson didn’t deserve. Those things happen in sports. True to her character, she didn’t make any excuses after the race.
But it would have been great to see what Johnson could have done full strength.