Anthony Johnson, junior sprinter, came a long way in order to compete for the Texas State track and field team.Johnson has traveled through 46 states on his journey, but said he feels right at home in San Marcos.
Born in Arkansas, Johnson moved to Simmesport, Louisiana, with his mother when he was 2-years-old. His mother, Veronica Keller, had one dream in mind.
“Growing up, I read and heard about beautiful places that would be amazing to travel to,” Keller said. “I decided I wanted to travel the world, and show my road dog (Johnson) what all is out there.”
The two then drove all over the country when Johnson was about 3-years-old.
They moved from their home in Simmesport to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, so Keller could go back to school and receive her master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
They moved in with Keller’s brother in Pittsburgh, but he only had a one-bedroom apartment. Johnson was forced to sleep on the couch in the living room.
This went on until Johnson was 6-years-old. The times were rough for Johnson, but he has shown he can handle adversity.
The end goal for Keller was to find a good job and give Johnson a better life.
“It was weird not having my own room, but I’m glad I was able to do it with my mom,” Johnson said. “It’s helped me shape myself into the man I am today.”
The two did what they had to do until Keller received her degree from Pittsburgh.
Keller was involved in the college atmosphere, and saw an opportunity to let Johnson see what university life is all about.
Keller took Johnson all over campus, and even brought him to classes. Johnson found himself witnessing a college course before even thinking about pursuing higher education.
“He’s been around college life his whole life,” Keller said. “I even showed him the athletics department and he was in love ever since.”
Keller received her degree when Johnson was 9-years-old.
The two moved to Keller, Texas, after she graduated, where they have lived ever since.
“We moved to Texas, and that is where I finally got my own room,” Johnson said. “Texas has by far been my favorite place to live.”
Johnson found a home in Keller, where he thrived in athletics. He played basketball for Keller Central High School while also running track.
His mother used her degree to find a job in teaching. Keller works with elementary school children and teaches a health class in the Irving school district.
Keller remarried after the move to Texas and gave birth to two boys named Benjamin and Keller Patterson.
“Both of my two boys really look up to Anthony,” Keller said. “They love to come visit him and hang out in his dorm. I don’t care what they do, but my only rule is no broken bones or bloodshed.”
Johnson loves to show his little brothers a good time, and hopes they can appreciate life as much as he does.
The family continues to travel the world. They have recently been on cruises around the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean. The family drove all the way to Seattle, Washington in order to board a ship that sailed around Alaska.
They plan on traveling to all 50 states.
“I loved all of the traveling we did,” Johnson said. “My favorite place to go was Disney World in Orlando. That’s the greatest place on earth.”