Johnson dashes her way to a NCAA Division III title

Chelsea Johnson

North Branch native and St. Scholastica senior Chelsea Johnson capped a stellar college cross-country season over the weekend by winning the NCAA Division III National Championship on Saturday.

The race, which took place in Hanover, Ind., was a battle among four runners until Johnson pulled away to win by 11 seconds with a time of 21:11.7, recording a mile pace of 5:41 throughout the 6K.

Johnson’s win marks St. Scholastica’s first national champion in school history. The racer earned honors last season as the program’s second NCAA All-American by taking 15th at nationals with a time of 21:30.

Since freshman year on the Saints squad, Johnson battled wear-and-tear injuries that hindered her training until this summer. Her patience paid off as Johnson also took the title in eight races this season, including winning her final six races of the year prior to a national title.

St. Olaf freshman Noelle Olson also represented Minnesota well by clinching second place.

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