We are down to the final two in our five-week long quest to name the greatest Virginia track & field athlete of all-time. One of these finalists is 2016 Nansemond River alum, Brandee' Johnson. Here we make the case for why she deserves to be named the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All-Time).
Almost anyone who follows high school track knows about Team War. Few know the high school name (Nansemond River) but many know they mean business when they roll up to New Balance Nationals or other big meets. Brandee' Johnson is the athlete that made Team War, Team War.
Brandee' is the Virginia state record holder in the 100m Hurdles, 300m Hurdles, 400m Hurdles, and now ranks second all-time in the 55m Hurdles but had set the record in high school. On top of those hurdle events she also ranks #8 all-time in the 200, #13 all-time in the 400, #10 all-time in the 300 (indoors), #7 all-time in the 500 (indoors), and ranks all-time in the 55m dash as well.
Unlike her competitor here, Brandee' focused on relays at many big meets as well and her success there could very well overshadow her individual accomplishments. Read more about how insanely good Brandee' was once she got the baton below... then you'll understand why we say she is the one who made Team War into Team War.
Almost every year Virginia has a star athlete or a stellar relay team, it is extremely rare though that you have both at the same school. That was the case though when Brandee' Johnson called Nansemond River home in Suffolk. Her Warriors would go on to win five relay titles at New Balance Nationals including three her senior year outdoors. They also set the indoor state record in the 4x2 and outdoor state record in the 4x1, 4x2, and 4x4.
Brandee' was surrounded by some of the greatest sprinters VA has ever seen while at Nansemond River and you could argue she made them all even greater. Brandee' was the captain of that team and she pushed them all to be better. You cannot forget to count that as you judge how great an athlete was, she not only was historically great herself but also helped create an absolute dynasty.
That dynasty began with her and has helped the Warriors win every state title since 2014 outdoors and since 2016 indoors. She helped them win their first four state titles as team captain and their leading scorer.
Her teammates Dajae Goulet, Kara Lyles, Syaira Richardson, and Kori Carter would all go on to win individual state titles and run on many relays with Brandee'. Even though those are some great names, Brandee', as the leader, always led by example. If one of her teammates was going to split 54, Brandee' was going to go 53.
It was that attitude that helped Team War set the 4x1 4x2, and 4x4 state records in just two days with Brandee' anchoring all three. Brandee' also owns one of the fastest splits ever by a VA athlete when she split 52 at NBNO (F.A.T.) in an effort to walk down Sydney McLaughlin.
She also split 22.6 (F.A.T.) in the 4x200 to win that national title for Team War as well. That split was of course sandwiched between her performance setting a NBNO meet record and VA state record in the 4x100 and running a state record in the 100m hurdles. Brandee' did it all.
One of her biggest days as an athlete was her senior indoor state championships where she scored 48 points by winning the 55, 55mH, 500, long jump, and placing second in the triple jump. She followed that up by winning the 200, 300mH, and 100mH at outdoor states while also placing second in the long jump.
Brandee' has even more impressive stats than just two or three meets. Here are her numbers that may never be equaled...
- 10 State Records (6 as an Individual)
- 18 State Titles (15 as an individual)
- 5 National Titles
- 19 All-American Finishes
There are really three ways to remember an athlete. You can remember them for the titles they won, the records they set, or the races they raced... and by all three counts she makes a very strong argument to be named Virginia's Greatest of All-Time.