FRESNO, California (KSEE/KGPE) – Thursday afternoon, the C-VAL cross country championship was held at Woodward Park.
This race is suppose to be full of excitement for student athletes but instead students and parents of Rio Vista Middle School are struggling with the loss of their head coach Donte Johnson.
Dawnette Sorenson said Donte Johnson coached their daughter. Sorenson said he inspired their daughter and so many other student athletes.
“He was amazing,” said Sorenson. “Everybody just loved him he was so nice and positive to everybody and encouraging.”
Cedric Pulliam is also a cross country runner and coach. He said he along with the whole cross country community will feel this loss.
“He was heavily involved with his church, and his daughter and also the community,” said Pulliam “He loved training kids and helping kids out.”
Now his athletes will run with purpose honoring the life and memory of Coach Johnson.
Amy Allen is a Friend of Coach Johnson. Allen said he recruited her daughter to run for him. Now she’s without words on how to process the devastating news.
“After the race today we will be walking over to the hill area where they have done multiple work outs with him and lay flowers for him and we have stars that the athletes are able to write on,” said Allen.
Central Unified provided counselors for the students at school and also at the cross country race. Pulliam said many of the students are running for him for now on.
“His legacy will never die,” said Pulliam. “It is always in us and you can tell by the way the kids run and the way the kids talk about him and carry themselves that he impacted them big.”