Stories of the year, No. 6: Johnson’s medal highlights post-college stars’ success

Four track and field stars with San Luis Obispo County ties continued to make their mark nationally and globally this year.

At the World Championships in Berlin on Aug. 17, Atascadero’s Chelsea Johnson tied for second in the women’s pole vault, matching Poland’s Monika Pyrek at 15 feet, 3 inches.

“I have been 100-percent confident,” Johnson told reporters at the time of claiming the silver medal at her debut at the competition. “I was ready to go with my eye on the prize. That was the mindset coming in here.”

Meanwhile, former Cal Poly standout Maggie Vessey competed in the women’s 800-meter semifinals, finishing seventh in her heat in 2 minutes, 3.55 seconds.

On July 28, Vessey won the 800 at the Herculis Super Grand Prix in Monaco in a shocking, personal-best 1:57.84, which at the time was the fastest mark of any woman in the world this year. She was coming off a June win in the event at the prestigious Prefontaine Classic in 2:00.18.Additionally at the world championships, fellow Cal Poly alumna Sharon Day placed 10th in the women’s heptathlon, the top American placer, with 6,126 points. She also competed in the high jump there.

Also in Berlin, Arroyo Grande High and Cal Poly grad Stephanie Brown Trafton came in 12th in the women’s discus final with a throw of 192 feet.However, entering the championships, Trafton — the 2008 Olympic gold medalist — had the best throw in the world over the course of the season, at 217-3.