Mattie Johnson, a 2017 graduate of South Columbus, completed her freshman year at Georgia State University in Atlanta in May. Johnson, the daughter of Scott and Jenny Johnson of Tabor City competed as a member of the nationally ranked Georgia State University Beach Volleyball squad this spring. The Panthers ended the year ranked 11th nationally with a record of 24-12, recording wins over nationally-ranked teams, LSU (twice), Stetson, Tulane and Florida Atlantic.
Johnson and fellow freshman Meagan McCall posted a 5-1 record in the number three flight. Johnson was also named to the Spring 2018 Georgia State President’s List. The GSU President’s List recognizes students who earn a 4.0 GPA while completing at least nine semester hours of academic credit.
Johnson credits the discipline developed from playing multiple sports in high school to helping ease the transition to college and the balance needed for academics and athletics. She says, “ There was little time for anything else besides practice, school, and sleep. Being a DI athlete for a nationally-ranked program comes with a lot of pressure and extra responsibilities.” Johnson added, “We are held to a high standard and are expected to perform at the highest level possible while receiving great support from GSU’s Student-Athlete Development Staff,” She feels her Columbus County upbringing gave her the ability to meet her challenges with “a smile and determination.”
Johnson has enjoyed the team aspect of collegiate volleyball as opposed to juniors where you have just one partner to support you. She says, “I was pushed harder physically on a daily basis than what I thought I was capable of. It actually was more fun than I expected because my teammates were right there beside me.”
Georgia State Beach Volleyball Coach Beth Van Fleet says, “Mattie has responded well to each hurdle. She brings an undeniable work ethic and consistent focus to the sand each day.” Van Fleet continued, “Mattie played various roles for us this season, from run-up blocker to full-time defender. She has made a strong start ad will continue to improve over the next three years.”
Johnson concluded by saying, “ I had a ton of fun learning to be a DI student-athlete, but I’m not satisfied at all. I’m excited to take what I have learned and pursue my higher goals next year!”