2021 TSSAA Spring Fling – Breaking a 32-year-old school record… Johnson’s efforts earn fourth-place in state, school record

Published 11:09 pm Thursday, May 27, 2021

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ROCKVALE – Elizabethton junior Conner Johnson looked just a little tight on his opening three attempts at the shot put pit in the 2021 TSSAA Spring Fling State Shot Put competition on Thursday at Rockvale High School in Murfreesboro.

But it was Katie bar the door in the final round as Johnson put all three of his efforts beyond the 50-foot mark with his best effort of 53-4.50
breaking a 32-year-old Elizabethton High School record and clinched a fourth-place finish in the state and All-State honors for 2021.

The old record was set in 1989 by Andrew Johnson at 51-6 and ironically both throwers had the same throwing coach in Jim Presnell.

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“It was amazing and everything felt good,” said Johnson about his performance. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Coach Presnell, Coach Campbell, and Coach Newman.

“It was an amazing experience to be here for the first time.”

Johnson was humbled to know that he had done something that no one has been able to accomplish and represent Elizabethton at the same time.

“It feels great and I just want to stay humble,” he said with a smile. “I will keep my head held high for now.

“There is not a better feeling and not a better school that I would rather be representing.”

Johnson admitted that he was a little nervous during the first three throws but in the same effort that he gave in helping the Cyclones win two state football championships, Johnson settled in and got down to business in Cyclone fashion.

“I was thinking of some technical stuff but for the most part just chucking it and throw it out there far,” Johnson said of some of the thoughts that were running through his mind in the early going.

“I was a little nervous in the first round but I got the mark I needed.”

The competition appeared to be loaded as several big bodies were competing for the top spot.

However, in events such as the shot put, it’s not always the size that matters but the techniques employed in the competition.

No one knows that more than Coach Jim Presnell who has been around track and field for a long time and shared that he had asked God to give him one more good thrower to work with before he was done and he believes that Johnson is that guy.

“He knows what good technique is supposed to be,” Presnell said of his student. “He has become a student of the event which you have to be to get better.”

“On the way down he was watching YouTube videos. I always tell him to watch good throwers and always try to get that image in his mind when you try to work out and throw.

With Johnson’s results on Thursday, it has not only threw more fuel on the fire for next year but also has Presnell smiling a little bigger and looking ahead.

Johnson said that he has set a personal goal of 60 feet. With his determination, that distance may not be out of his range with another year of work.

It’s a great way to end – I think it will make him work harder for next year,” Presnell added.

2021 TSSAA Spring Fling Shot Put Top 8 – Large Schools

1. Eli Penix – Daniel Boone 57-09.50

2. Tristan Boatman – Jefferson Co. 55-06.00

3. Dominic Schroeder – Jefferson Co. 54-07.50

4. Conner Johnson – Elizabethton 53-04.50

5. L. Crouch – Tullahoma 48-09.50

6. Lee Steakley – Franklin Co. 48-02.50

7. Anthony Dodd – Franklin 47-11.50

8. Branson Conner – Whitehaven 47-07.50