High School Sports

HHH runner Johnston signs with College of Charleston

It would be easy to overlook Mackenzie Johnston, but it would not be wise.

Sure, he was just the third fastest runner on his high school team -- but that team, Hilton Head High, was not only the fastest cross country team in the state each of the past two years, it shattered school records along the way to its pair of Class 3-A state titles.

And Johnston may not have been the fastest, but he certainly played his role while earning three all-state selections.

He clearly did enough to stand out to those who watched. On Friday afternoon, he signed a letter of intent to continue his running career at College of Charleston.

"I think that first state championship was definitely the best moment (of my career) because it was our first time getting to that level," Johnston said. "Right then, you know all the hard work everyone put in and all the times we pushed each other, it was worth it."

Name: Mackenzie Johnston

High school: Hilton Head High

Sport: Cross Country

High school coach: Bill Wrightson

College: College of Charleston

Probable major: Undecided

About College of Charleston: In their fall season, the Cougars finished 27th at the NCAA Southeast Regional. They participate in the Southern Conference. College of Charleston is coached by Amy Seago, a former track All-America selection.

Why College of Charleston? "I liked the people there and I liked the school -- it was really nice," Johnston said. "... I was looking for a good program, but I didn't want to go to a real big state school. I wanted the opportunity to run races."

Other schools that offered scholarships: None (no other visits)

Other high school sports played: Track

Accolades: Part of Hilton Head High's Class 3-A state championships in 2009 and 2010 (fastest teams in school history), three-time all-state runner, two-time All-South Team Footlocker, nine-time varsity letterman in track and cross country, finished fifth at state meet in 2010.