FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (BVM) – St. Thomas Aquinas track and field star Cha’iel Johnson knows the warm glow of the spotlight. Since her early days on the track, Johnson has established herself as one of the nation’s best runners for her age, winning the AAU Junior Olympic title in the 400m (1:01.57) when she was only 10 in 2015. From that moment on, Johnson became a household name as she obliterated her competition, broke national records and won too many medals to count.
Johnson continued her success at the high school level. On May 20, Johnson won the Florida High School Athletic Association 800m with a time of 2:11.41. That marked her third consecutive state title in the event, making her one of the most elite 800 runners in the country.
Now, Johnson is prepared to take her talents to the next level. The track star announced her commitment to the University of Kentucky on Tuesday. Johnson joins a UK women’s track team that finished sixth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last week.
UK ????💙👀👀👀 pic.twitter.com/DfwDgP7R3r
— Cha’iel Johnson🏃🏾♀️ (@BabyChaiel_85) May 31, 2023
While Johnson was able to find athletic fame in her own right, she can thank her father for helping draw in some eyes. Cha’iel is the daughter of former NFL All-Pro Chad Johnson, otherwise known as Chad Ochocinco. During his 11 years in the league, Chad was not only regarded as one of the top players with six Pro Bowl nods and two All-Pro selections but also one of the game’s biggest stars thanks to his incredible on-field performances and antics.
No. 14: Former WR Chad Johnson @ochocinco
"There's three things in life that's certain: Death, Taxes, and 85 will always be open."
— NFL (@NFL) October 19, 2019
Though Chad never ran track in his youth, instead focusing on football and soccer, he did show off his speed throughout his NFL career. While his 40-yard dash as a rookie was a pedestrian 4.58 seconds, many scouts had expected him to run faster and his playing speed showed that often with some of the best footwork in the league.
— NFL (@NFL) April 30, 2020
It appears that Cha’iel was gifted with her dad’s quick feet. Her father’s confidence and swagger also seems to permeate off of Cha’iel as she isn’t afraid of placing high expectations on herself.
With three state titles and a number of standout performances, Cha’iel will bring a lot of hype with her to the UK track team. Given her success at each level of track and field, expect more broken records and gold medal performances for the star athlete during her time in Lexington.