|Area of Distinction:||Cross County / Track & Field|
Wallace Johnson is the first-ever inductee in the sport of cross country after turning in a tremendous Battling Bishop career from 1979 to 1982. An intense competitor, Johnson was a self-trained runner who participated as an individual in a sport not sponsored by NCWC during his tenure. The Ahoskie, N.C. native relied on various coaches in the Department of Athletics for transportation to and from meets, and along the way, became a four-time Dixie All-Conference selection (three in cross country, one in track) and the lone individual league champion in Wesleyan history.
As a sophomore, Johnson earned his second All-Conference honor after shaving two minutes off of his career-best time and posting a 7th-place finish in the DIAC. He followed up with a junior season that saw him crowned the conference’s overall champion after turning in a time of 27:28 in the 5.4 mile run. Johnson, in fact, did not lose a race that entire season and proceeded to run his winning streak to 11 races as a senior. He wrapped up his career with a school-record time of 25:56 in the DIAC Championship… a record that still stands today.
In addition to his cross country prowess, Johnson also excelled in track. He currently holds Wesleyan records in the 1500- and 800-meter runs with times of 4:20 and 1:59, respectively. His 800-meter time was good enough to earn him his second DIAC title. Sports Information Director Linda McCarthy said at the time, “When you consider that he doesn’t have a head coach and did all the training on his own, you really have to be impressed with Wallace’s accomplishments.”
Johnson, who was also a three-time Academic All-Conference honoree, graduated from Wesleyan in 1982 with a degree in History and went on to enjoy a 25-year teaching career in nearby Hertford County before recently retiring from the Gates County Public School System. Johnson’s career has seen him named HCMS Teacher of the Year on five occasions, while leading numerous quiz bowl, cross country and track teams to state finals. The 2006 recipient of N.C. Wesleyan’s Distinguished Alumni Award, he earned Master’s degrees in education from Cambridge College in 2008 and the University of New England in 2010.