ASICS professional runner and six-time All-American Rachel Johnson has joined the Liberty staff as an assistant track & field/cross country coach. She will primarily work with the Lady Flames' distance runners.
Johnson comes to Lynchburg from Flagstaff, Ariz., where she is coached by Olympian Ryan Hall. Johnson has also coached a number of high school athletes through her Run World Coaching program.
"We are excited to see how God will use Rachel at Liberty," stated Liberty Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Brant Tolsma. "She clearly has been involved in a high level of running since high school and she appears to be a great fit with our mission of Training Champions for Christ. She will ‘hit the Lynchburg ground running' as our distance team arrives just after her in early August to prepare for our second ASUN cross country season."
Since graduating from Baylor in 2015, Johnson has competed in the steeplechase at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials and finished seventh in the 2016 USATF 5K Championship on the roads. Johnson also posted a 10K PR of 32:32.84 at the 2018 Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif.
Johnson earned six All-America honors at Baylor with a top finish of second in the 5K at the 2015 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships. She also captured four Big 12 Conference titles, including back-to-back steeplechase crowns in 2014 and 2015 and a sweep of the 2015 indoor 3K and 5K championships.
During her time at Baylor, Johnson captured a gold medal for Team USA in the steeplechase at the 2014 NACAC Under-23 Championships. That same year, she placed fifth in the event at the USATF Outdoor Championships in a personal-best 9:41.56.
Johnson has enjoyed success ever since her days at Plano Senior High School in Plano, Texas. As a senior, she won the 2010 Nike Cross Nationals individual title and was the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships national runner-up.
Johnson will make her coaching debut at Liberty on Aug. 30, when the Flames and Lady Flames open the 2019 cross country season by hosting the Liberty Challenge.
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