Scrolling Headlines:

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

Johnson shining on the field, in the classroom

When it comes to receiving athletic and scholastic praise, senior Kevin Johnson of the Massachusetts cross-country team is  no stranger to accepting them.

A food science and nutrition major, Kevin currently holds a 4.0 GPA and earned an Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference Team selection three times. Most recently, Johnson received the 2009-10 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Men’s Track and Field and Cross Country Third Team honor.

For Johnson, being a successful student athlete has been more rewarding than difficult.

“I don’t consider [classes to be] too much work,” Johnson said. “I see it more as I’m doing what I want to do and what I enjoy doing.”

When it comes to dealing with big tests in season, Johnson said it all comes with the territory.

“High school was the same, it has been that way for about seven years,” Johnson said.

A key element of Johnson’s success has been the support of his coach and teammates.

UMass coach Ken O’Brien has been a strong influence for Johnson, teaching him valuable lessons about running and life.

“Coach O’Brien is great with athlete development,” Johnson said. “His style of coaching develops you as a person as well.”

Keeping a strong focus, working hard and maintaining a balance between work and play are some of the lessons Johnson has learned from O’Brien.

Johnson’s twin brother David, also a member of the cross-country team, has been there to help push Kevin along. The friendly competition between twin brothers exists in running as well as  the classroom. Johnson admitted that it’s nice to have a person around to always compete with and compare himself to, and the competition between them keeps Kevin motivated throughout his college career.

While recognition and admiration for Johnson comes from many different outlets, he believes the most important recognition comes from the people who go through the same experiences as Johnson.

Senior teammate Sean Duncan is still impressed by Johnson after playing together at UMass for the past four years. Duncan said that Johnson does a great job leading by example and he is a great influence on the team.

While the team operates as one big cohesive unit, his teammates are willing to listen to what he has to say and respect his self-discipline.

“When it comes to academics, he puts in a lot of work and takes a lot of pride in it,” Duncan said.

Duncan also said that Johnson’s performance and accolades are as much a factor in UMass’ recruiting as any other.

David said not only does Kevin lead by example, but also keeps tabs on the younger runners. He’s been known to remind his teammates to stay on top of their studies.

For now, Johnson says he plans on sharing everything he has learned at UMass with all of the newcomers. With a team consisting of mostly seniors and freshmen, Johnson said “it is a pivotal year as far as the program is concerned”. The younger guys will have to become leaders much sooner, he added.

On top of everything else, part of his job will be to make sure that happens successfully.

Eric Mansfield can be reached at eamansfi@student.umass.edu.

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