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Male Rookie of the Year, Runner-Up: Johnson Challenges Records from the Start

Freshman sprinter Malcolm Johnson claimed the 60 meter title in his first ever Ivy League Heptagonal competition.
Freshman sprinter Malcolm Johnson claimed the 60 meter title in his first ever Ivy League Heptagonal competition. By Mark Kelsey
By Julio Fierro, Crimson Staff Writer

Freshman Malcolm Johnson was a highly recruited sprinter coming out of high school and a centerpiece of a strong incoming recruiting class for the Harvard men’s track and field team and had little trouble finding success in his first year of collegiate competition. Already, Johnson has established himself as one of the best sprinters in the Ivy League and challenged Crimson records from the start.

“I was pleased with Malcolm’s performances [this season],” Harvard coach Jason Saretsky said. “Winning the [Indoor] Ivy League Championship was a great accomplishment for a freshman.”

The Sylvania, Ohio., native ran his way into the Harvard record books this year, claiming the second-best time in program history in both the 60 meter and 200 meter dash with times of 6.75 and 21.62 seconds, respectively.

In addition to placing his name in the record books, the rookie claimed the 60 meter title in his first ever Ivy League Heptagonal competition, edging out fellow rookie Carrington Akosa of Princeton with a time of 6.88 seconds.

Johnson would follow up his indoor season with a solid outdoor campaign, taking first place in the 100 meter dash at the Harvard-Yale meet with a time of 10.50 seconds. The freshman also placed sixth in the same event at outdoor Heps coming in at 10.83 seconds.

While the rookie has been able to make a strong impact for the team from day one, Johnson has experienced a drastic change in his approach and amount of time dedicated to the sport.

“The hardest to transition to is the amount of time that I put into training,” Johnson said. “In high school I was training for probably an hour and a half every day, and now I’m training three hours…. Now it’s just harder for my body to recover.”

Though the transition from high school to collegiate competition has had its bumps, the rookie believes that a collegiate schedule—where classes are spread out as opposed to having a chunk of seven to eight hours straight of school—has allowed him to adapt accordingly.

Though there are still many variables left to improve in Johnson’s career, his performances this season have given Saretsky a reason to believe that his times and finishes could be the rule, not the exception, in his career with the Crimson. Ultimately, the Harvard coach is excited for what the freshman has to offer the next three years.

“We haven’t seen the full impact that [Johnson] can have,” Saretsky said. “I’m hopeful and excited for next year…we’re going to see even more improvements and more consistency from Malcolm and that group.”

—Staff writer Julio Fierro can be reached at

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Track and Cross CountryYear In Sports 2015Commencement 2015