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Johnson sets national record in shotput

Preston Johnson stands on the winner's pedestal at the Martin Luther King Indoor Track Classic at the CrossPlex Athletic Facility in Birmingham. (CONTRIBUTED)
Preston Johnson stands on the winner’s pedestal at the Martin Luther King Indoor Track Classic at the CrossPlex Athletic Facility in Birmingham. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Preston Johnson, an eighth-grader at Liberty Middle School, currently holds the national record for shotput in his age group.Johnson claimed his record throw at the Martin Luther King Indoor Track Classic at the CrossPlex Athletic Facility in Birmingham on Jan. 21. He threw the ball 42 feet, 11 inches, and the record for his age was 42 feet, 9.5 inches.

Surprisingly, Johnson has been training for this track-and-field event only for about one month.

“The only experience I have had before practicing at James Clemens High School was in sixth grade for Sports Day. I practiced for about two weeks before my first meet ever and threw 40.0 feet. I got second place competing against about 50 others,” he said.

Johnson qualified for the state meet by throwing the varisty-approved, 12-pound shotput ball at 36 feet, 5 inches. “However, I didn’t get to go to state because a senior and a junior can throw farther then me. The two top people on the team go to state,” Johnson said.

As an eighth-grader, Johnson is the youngest athlete on his Madison team with other upperclassmen players.

Johnson and his fellow Liberty Lions had a successful, winning 2012 season in football, the only other sport that he plays. “When I get in trouble, my mom grounds me from the gym, and I can’t work out or anything until I get ‘ungrounded,'” he said.

Johnson serves as president of Student Government Association at Liberty. He attends Asbury United Methodist Church. Preston’s parents are Clay Johnson and Tammy Miller.

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