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Johnson’s Talent A Part Of CU’s 2021 Season

Nov 16, 2021
India Johnson joined the Buffaloes this past August and has been CU's No. 3 runner this season.

BOULDER-- India Johnson, a fifth-year transfer student from Hilliard, Ohio, has made three pivotal transitions in her life that have led her to running at the University of Colorado as a member of the cross country and track & field team. 

Her first shift was in seventh grade when she went from playing competitive softball to running. Johnson initially only pursued running as a means to be better at softball. 

"My parents wanted me to stay in shape in the fall of seventh grade, and the only non-cut sport was cross-country," Johnson said. "Once I started running, I made a ton of friends and ended up not doing softball in spring. I did track instead and stuck with it [running]."

Running became her sole sport from that point on. She was naturally talented, making her high school's varsity team her freshman year. By her junior year, she qualified for national-level meets and was an All-American in the 5,000-meters that spring.

Johnson attributes much of her high school success to her coach, who she says, "cultivated a very healthy environment around running. It started social and was fun and gradually became more intense." By the end of her senior year, she worked her way up to running 55 miles a week, and her coach had high expectations which she says pushed her to be a better athlete.  

The second change was an academic one, occurring Johnson's freshman year at Michigan State. She entered college as a kinesiology major, though she quickly realized she didn't enjoy it and switched to apparel and design. 

After completing her undergraduate degree, Johnson knew she wanted to continue to pursue apparel and design at a graduate level. This niche area is not provided at many universities, although the Univesity of Colorado happens to offer a graduate degree in creative technology and design.

Thus, Johnson's third transition; transferring from Michigan State to the University of Colorado. She was between North Carolina State and Colorado, both highly successful distance running programs. However, Johnson ultimately landed on CU.

"I knew I would fit in better here [at Colorado]," Johnson said. "I had a gut feeling that this is where I was supposed to be."  

Johnson has enjoyed her new training and believes it has helped her become a better runner. 

"The training here is more tailored towards what I need and what my strengths are. Middle-distance runs keep my aerobic base, and the speedwork kicks my butt, but I need that." She also adds that "altitude training has really helped."

With cross country nationals approaching, Johnson's main goal is to help her Colorado team place high on the podium. She has experience doing this, being the Spartan's third runner and contributing to their fourth-place podium finish at nationals season.

With the Buffaloes' returning lineup and the addition of a talent like Johnson, head coach Mark Wetmore's statement that this is one of the best women's teams he's ever had is solidified. 

The NCAA Championships are Saturday, November 20, in Tallahassee, Fla. More information is available at