Tara Johnson from King’s College broke the Middle Atlantic Conference Championships 3,000-meter steeplechase record May 4 by finishing in 11:13.40 May 4 at Widener University in Chester.
The Pittston Area graduate lowered her previous best time in the event by more than 27 seconds as part of a weekend in which she set school records in three straight days, including with the steeplechase.
A sophomore at King’s, Johnson wound up setting school records in each of her last four events of the season, which concluded Monday when she fell a little short in an attempt to qualify for the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III national championships despite running even faster in the steeplechase.
When the MAC Championships wrapped up May 5, Johnson ran the 1500 in 4:43.75 to finish fourth out of 15 entries.
Johnson, a first-team All-MAC selection, runs the middle distance events for the Monarchs, along with the steeplechase. Her steeplechase time easily broke the eight-year-old MAC record of 11:22.16 set by Elizabethtown’s Megan VanDenHengel.
Kierra Zack from Eastern finished second, almost 40 seconds behind Johnson, in 11:53.17.
Johnson also ran in the event as a freshman, but finished 11th.
Also a member of the King’s cross country and indoor track teams, Johnson earned all-MAC honorable mention in track as a freshman.
She was part of a seventh-place team for King’s in the 3200 relay. The team set a school record of 10:01.21.
King’s finished seventh out of 13 teams at the championships.
The Swat Final Qualifier Monday at Swarthmore College gave Johnson one last chance to qualify for outdoor nationals.
Johnson’s latest school record of 11:05.98 left her fifth of 17 competitors at the event. It likely moved her up from her 44th-place ranking nationally to begin the week, but fell short of breaking into the top-22 times needed to make nationals.
Jessica Tighe, a freshman from Pittston Area, is a sprinter at King’s.
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