Kayla Johnson joins SCC track team as a sophomore, signs with Loyola

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, June 7, 2017

LAPLACE — For most of her young life, Kayla Johnson has focused her athletic talents on the game of basketball.

Once she got to St. Charles Catholic High School, however, Johnson did some experimenting with other sports.

As a freshman, she tried volleyball.

As a sophomore, she gave track a try.

While she didn’t much care for the former, Johnson discovered she really liked the latter.

It turns out, she is pretty good at it, too, and has earned a scholarship to run track for Loyola University of New Orleans. She signed the paperwork last week.

“I had already decided to go to Loyola,” Johnson explained. “My dad and the coach from Loyola had contacted each other, and my dad asked me if it was something I might like to do.”

It didn’t take long for Johnson to answer, “yes.”

It did take her a while to find her way to the track, however.

“It was nothing I ever tried,” she said. “Me and my friends just wanted to try it out. I played basketball and I tried volleyball. I was just trying out different sports to see what I liked.”

It was after that first season that Johnson realized it was a good fit.

“After the first year I really liked it,” she said.
St. Charles Catholic track coach Courtland Taylor was happy to have her. “I realized the potential she had to be a superb athlete,” Taylor said.

“She had a great frame. She has some great lines and she’s very intelligent. She works hard at whatever she does, in and out of the classroom. You could tell she was a very special athlete at a young age because she was extremely focused on whatever she wanted to do at the time. She’s very task-oriented.”

Johnson became one of the Comets’ best sprinters, running the 400-meter dash as well as anchoring all the relays.

Her best time in the 400 is 1:02, reached at a meet held at Central Lafourche this season. She finished sixth at the state meet with a time of 1:03.40.

She also continued to excel in basketball and even represented her school at the Bayou/River Region All-Star game in Thibodaux.

She recently received the annual Miss Comet award, which is presented to the outstanding female athlete at the end-of-year athletic banquet.

Now Johnson intends to focus on her burgeoning track career as she majors in computer science at Loyola.

“I just want to get better,” she said.

Besides her athletics, Johnson is an outstanding student. She recently graduated from St. Charles Catholic with a 3.96 grade point average and was a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, Creative Writing Club and the SCC Stagehands Club.

In November of 2016, Johnson was honored as the female Chevron Scholar Athlete of the Week, chosen by the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Quarterback Club.

Johnson was chosen from other honorees as the overall female winner of a $5,000 scholarship, presented during halftime of a New Orleans Pelicans game.

“It was very exciting,” mom, Keeva Johnson said. “I screamed.”