The 5-foot-9, 120-pound junior won the 1600-meter run with a time of 4:08.6 at the Division 1 state meet this past season, leading the Rams to second place as a team. Johnson also finished second in the 800 and ran the lead leg for the third-place 4x400 relay quartet. He won a national title in the mile by clocking a 4:11.9 at this month's New Balance Nationals Outdoor. He also broke the tape in the 800 at the Midwest Distance Classic in 1:50.72.
Johnson has maintained a weighted 4.24 GPA in the classroom and represents one of the state's top academic candidates in meeting the Gatorade Award's broad criteria. He will begin his senior year of high school this fall.
Johnson has served as part of multiple service-mission trips with his church and has volunteered locally on behalf of Operation Christmas Child as well as North Kent Community Services. "Cole Johnson is a phenomenal athlete and competitor, the total package," said Rockford coach Andrew Martin. "He's also the type of kid who will sacrifice his own goals for the greater good of his friends, family and team."