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A Runner Named Cole Johnson

by Luke Johnson

This is a true story about my big brother, Cole Johnson. It has everything about his running career from 6th grade to his current grade, 9th. I interviewed Cole about everything that happened so far. I hope you like this story as much as I do.

In 6th grade Cole was planning on running his first 5k (3.1 miles), but ended up running 12.1 miles! He showed up late for the race and then talked our dad in to letting him run the entire half marathon! It was the largest half marathon in the nation and the track was partly on the Indianapolis 500 race track. While he was running his butt off, I was in my bed sleeping. He came home three hours later and said that he had run 13.1 miles. “I can’t believe that you ran for two hours straight” I said. That was one of Cole’s favorite moments even though he came home tired and super sweaty! That was when he knew he wanted to be a runner.

Art Show Inspires ‘WritePrize’ Student Writing Contest  

by Charles Honey

It worked big-time for art, so why not writing?

That was the thought of Eldon Palmer, a parent at Valley View Elementary School. Inspired by the huge success of ArtPrize, Palmer last fall proposed a contest called WritePrize at the K-5 school. He worked with teachers and Principal Bob Siegel to organize a writing contest among third- through fifth-graders. The kickoff was held during the release of Siegel’s book “Learn to Lead with Love.”

Nearly 100 students – almost one-third of Valley View’s upper-elementary enrollment – submitted their works. They were judged by the high school students of Jackie Decker’s Advanced Placement language arts class. Throughout the year, the winning papers are being published in the weekly school newsletter.

Five winners were chosen from each grade. Following are the winning entries from fifth-graders Kate Zang, Makayla Jarrett, Luke Johnson, Macey Palmer and Madison Warnke. Happy reading!

Read More Submissions

In 7th grade cross country he finally took running seriously. He came in 5th place or better every single race! 7th grade track he discovered that distance running is his thing. In the two mile Cole never lost a race! He also ran with a cast on (due to a basketball injury) and from then on he went by the name “Bionic Arm”! In the summer Cole ran with some kids in high school to get ready for 8th grade cross country. He learned what it is like to train hard every single day.

In 8th grade cross country he didn’t lose a race, and I was at every single race! I got to see him kick butt in every race. In 8th grade track Cole broke three records (3200m, 1600m, and 800m). His times were 3200m=10:17, 1600m=4:48, and 800m=2:13. He broke former Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein’s record for the 3200m whose time was 10:24. It was an emotional moment for Cole, since Dathan is his idol. I was very excited because the meet was in Grand Haven and we got to go out to Pronto Pups afterward for the best corn dogs in the world.

In 9th grade cross country Cole was picked over sophomores, juniors, and even seniors to be on varsity! He felt relieved not to have the spotlight on him, however, Rockford was ranked 2nd or 3rd throughout the cross country, so people were counting on them to do well throughout the season. Cole moved up to the 2nd position on the team which helped lead to many team wins at meets. When the postseason came around (conference, regional, and state meets) Rockford won their 20th conference championship and won the regional meet and now it was time to see how they would do at state. They were not favored to win, but everyone had a great performance. Cole was the top freshman finisher. I was at the Rockford tent when the coach yelled “We’re state champs!!!!” “It was an amazing feeling to win state with a great group of guys, and our hard work really paid off” said Cole.

Cole’s hopes are to one day qualify for cross country nationals. After high school, he would like to continue running for a college. His first choice would be Stanford, “The Harvard of the East.”

I hope my brother continues to run because I never want to stop cheering him on. I think he could possibly go to the Olympics and get a medal someday.

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