RACINE, Wis. — For Emmanuel Johnson, also known as EJ, it wasn't a matter of why. Heading to La Crosse this weekend, EJ will compete at the 2022 State Track and Field Finals. All Division 1 high jumpers are scheduled to start jumping Friday morning.
"I went out for track at Park my sophomore year because I figured why not," EJ, junior high jumper at Racine Park, said.
A tri-sport athlete stripped of his freshman season due to the pandemic, EJ was looking for another way to compete.
"My coach, Michelle, had brought me into it. She figured, with my figure and how high I could jump, that I would be good at high jump," says EJ.
With the help of his coaches, EJ started his journey as a high jumper. He even spent time researching and watching videos of high jumpers on YouTube.
"Me, I'm a visual learner. So I watched YouTube videos and I looked more into it and honed the skills," says EJ.
Surprisingly, EJ not only competed at state later in 2021, but finished runner up at the Division 1 level.
"Before I jump, I visualize myself going over it. Then I try to slow it down as much as I can, you know make a process in my head," says EJ.
Now in 2022, EJ has higher expectations for himself.
"My personal goal is 6'10. But, if that's the jump to win it, it's all good. Win, win," says EJ.
Also participating in football and basketball, EJ believes that the high jump could take him to bigger places.
"I believe that I could go to college with this, to be honest. So if it leads me down that road to where I become big with it, I'm going with it," says EJ.