This week on '20 Questions' we learned more about freshman Mikayla Johnson from North Branch, Minnesota. 20Q: How did you get started in track & field?
MJ: I started track and field to be a sprinter, and being in middle school track they required you to do a field event. I tried almost everything my first year, and didn’t really like any. It wasn’t until my second year that my coach convinced me to try pole vault. Having a gymnastics background helped. Our pole vault coach was always looking to convince gymnasts to try it.
20Q:In your own words, describe your event and what you love about it?
MJ: Pole vaulting is basically running with a pole, sticking it into a box, and then swinging into the air trying to achieve the highest height possible. My favorite part about vaulting is making a bar and seeing it up in the air while you fall onto the mat.
20Q:What is your goal for the season?
MJ: My goal for this coming outdoor season is to transfer what I have been working on throughout preseason and indoor season into my vault. I would like to take all the technical work that I have been learning and put it to use. Height wise I would like to make it over 3.65 meters for sure, and 3.81 meters would be great!
20Q: What was the best advice ever given to you?
MJ: The best advice ever given to me was no matter what happens in pole vaulting you will fail. At some point, even if you have a personal record, you will miss a bar and fail. It’s your actions after you fail that are the most important. When you fail you just have to keep trying.
20Q: Which athlete inspires you the most?
MJ: The athlete that inspires me the most is Oksana Chusovitina. She’s an Olympic gymnast from Uzbekistan that competed at the last Olympic games at the age of 41. She sets her goals higher every time she competes and never stops trying to achieve them.
20Q:What would you like to be remembered for?
MJ: I would like to be remembered as someone who worked hard to achieve their goals, and as a good teammate and person overall.
20Q:What is your pre-competition ritual if you have one?
MJ: I don’t really have a pre-meet ritual. It depends on how well I’m feeling and what I think will help prepare for the specific meet.
20Q: What are your hobbies outside of athletics?
MJ: Outside of athletics I like to spend most of my time outdoors. I like to kayak, ride my horse, or go hiking. Other than that, I like to binge watch criminal minds or shameless!
20Q: Name one thing most people would be surprised to know about you?
MJ: Something people would be surprised to know about me is I love taking my horse to shows over the summer. I usually make a day trip out of it and we compete in barrels and poles and all that fun stuff!
20Q: The best part of being an athlete?
MJ: There are so many things that are great about being an athlete. Including the second family you gain, the drive to become better at your event not only for yourself but for your team as well, and it forces you to become good at managing time.
20Q: Which teammate inspires you the most and why?
MJ: There isn’t one teammate that I would specifically say inspires me the most, because they all inspire me in different ways. They are all so different and bring a different personality to the team environment.
20Q: What are three things on your bucket list?
MJ: Three things on my bucket list include: a. Go skydiving
b. Travel to Venezuela
c. Hike along the Appalachian Trail
20Q: If you could do any event in track & field, what would it be & why?
MJ: If I could do any event in track and field I would want to try javelin. Being from Minnesota, it was never an option and it just looks like it would be fun to try!
20Q: Who has made the biggest impact in your life?
MJ: The people who have made the biggest impact on my life would be my parents. They are as supportive as any parents could be, and I can’t thank them enough for that. They have never given up on me and are always there for my sisters and I.
20Q: What is your goal after you graduate?
MJ: My goal after I graduate will be to get a teaching job somewhere that’s close to home. During which I would like to attend graduate school studying sports business to ultimately become an athletics director.
20Q: How would your teammates describe you?
MJ: I think my teammates would describe me as somewhat quiet, hardworking, and motivated.
20Q: What is your favorite movie of all time? Why?
MJ: My all-time favorite movie would have to be She’s the Man. It shows guys that girls are just as good at sports, and I’m all about that.
20Q: Which road-trip are you most looking forward to this season and why?
MJ: The road-trip I am looking forward to the most this year is for sure anywhere warm, especially Myrtle Beach. It’s always nice to take a break from the cold!
20Q: What makes UND special to you?
MJ: What makes UND special to me are the people here. The people I’ve met this year are amazing and I can’t wait for the next couple of years here!
20Q: What is the best thing about living where you do?
MJ: The best thing about living in Grand Forks is that it is a big school, but not too big. It’s not too incredibly overwhelming. I also love UND because it’s far from home, but not too far. It forced me to be more independent once coming to college which would not have happened if I would’ve stayed close.