Puyallup Vikings senior distance runner Johanna Erickson earned a personal record of 5 minutes, 15 seconds in the 1,600-meter run at the Tacoma Invitational at Lincoln Bowl on April 12.
The next fastest runner in the SPSL has a time of 5 minutes, 23 seconds in the 1,600. Erickson, who also competes consistently in the 3,200, 800 and 1,600 relays, relies on her competitive spirit in all of her events.
“I started running cross-country when I was in the seventh grade and I just really liked it,” Erickson said. “That is what got me into running. At some point, there was this one person I decided wasn’t going to beat me again and she didn’t. That’s when I started getting more competitive with running. That carried over into track. I really enjoy competing, In running you have to be mentally prepared, be really competitive and just want to chase people down. Even if they are in front of you, it’s not really too far to catch them. You just have to go out and be a competitor.”
Vikings distance head coach Rob Webster said Erickson is being recruited by Seattle University’s and Central Washington University’s collegiate track programs.
“Johanna is a gymnast and placed at the state gymnastics tournament the past three years. She didn’t even think about running beyond high school until her junior year,” Webster said. “I think she is going to be a great runner in college.”
Erickson said gymnastics and track couldn’t be more dissimilar.
“In gymnastics its about striving for perfection which is sort of an unrealistic ideal where in running you just go out there and run as hard as you can,” she said.
The Herald recently asked Erickson a few questions about her life away from the soccer field.
The Herald: What is your favorite movie of all time?
Johanna Erickson: Right now it’s “Frozen.” It’s a cute movie. I like Disney movies.
TH: What is your favorite eatery in East Pierce County?
JE: I really like going to Aversano’s. I like Italian food, especially the noodles for my pre-race meal.
TH: What is your favorite TV show?
JE: I like “Cosmos: (A Spacetime Odyssey).” It is a science show with Neil deGrasse Tyson. He talks about space and time. I think it is really interesting.
TH: What is your favorite hobby away from running?
JE: Practicing the piano and the clarinet. I have been playing piano since the third grade and the clarinet since fifth grade.
TH: What is your biggest pet peeve?
JE: People who chew gum with their mouth open. I’m not a big fan of it.
TH: What is something unique about you that nobody would know?
JE: I actually like rock climbing. I used to go to summer rock climbing camps.