The Last Steps
April 16, 2008
Las Vegas - With every step, senior Lauren Johnson anticipates that it can be her last, as she comes upon the last few months of her running career at UNLV.
Johnson's career as a student-athlete at UNLV didn't begin in a typical fashion, as she came to UNLV as a transfer from the University of La Verne.
"I did some research on the school and the coaching staff to see what the program was all about," Johnson said. "I really got inspired when I seen how well the women were performing people like Christine Spence. She really inspired me to want to work hard."
When she made the transfer from LaVerne to UNLV, Johnson found that she would have to work hard to prove herself as a runner. Johnson earned her place on the track team as a walk-on and she found herself having to fight hard to earn a scholarship and a place on the team.
"I had to hit the standards to earn a scholarship so I kept fighting hard and working my hardest to reach my goals," says Johnson.
When talking about the biggest lesson learned during her time here Johnson says it was that working hard and being persistent pays off and that she had to keep showing up to practice when she didn't want to because it was hard to adjust to a Division-I work out.
There were many grueling workouts and challenges that Johnson had to endure but it also has its positive connection associated with it as it brings to mind one her favorite movements with the team.
"There was a time one of my teammates fell to the ground screaming 'no more' because our work out was so hard," Johnson says. "It was so funny because we wanted to laugh but we couldn't because we were all tired and hurting too much. We weren't brave enough to say anything because we didn't want to run more and she expressed herself that day."
With the changes that have come to the track and field program in the recent years Johnson hopes that the program gets back to the level that it used to be at, with multiple All-Americans.
As far as the new head coach Yvonne Scott-Williams, Johnson has high praise for Scott-Williams, who is finishing up her first year running the Rebel program.
"My coach is amazing and she has taught me so much that I didn't know," Johnson said. "She has helped me become a better runner as well as a better person, showing me new things that I can carry with me in life."
With every sprint Johnson prepares to cross the finish line, and she is also preparing to cross the finish line of her college career and is looking forward to a career in journalism.
"I plan on finding a career that I will love like I have loved running for so long," says Johnson.
One thing Johnson can take with her as her track career ends is the many memories of her time at UNLV.
"What I will miss the most is going to practice, laughing and crying with my teammates," Johnson said. "Most of all, I will remember being able to do what I love, with the people I love the most."