March 29, 2005
written by Erin Dupree
Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State track and field member, junior Johnta Griffin didn't have a traditional upbringing. The Orlando, Fla., native was raised in a loving home, parented by his grandmother. People often assume that his strong character is an attribute to a male influence in his life. Today, when he tells friends and teammates that his grandmother was one of the sole influences on the person he is today, they find that hard to believe.
As a student at Oak Ridge High School in Orlando, Griffin had hopes of attending The Florida State University. However, he was offered a track scholarship from a school just down the road, Florida A&M University. While a member of the Rattlers' program, Griffin aspired to play basketball in addition to sprinting and jumping on the track team. His dream of playing college basketball faded but now commits himself to his other love - track and field.
By way of Florida A&M, the finance major eventually fulfilled another childhood dream after he transferred to Florida State and joined the track team. In addition to his desire to compete with the Seminoles, FAMU did not offer finance as a major.
Although he misses the camaraderie he shared with some Rattler teammates, Griffin says the transition has not been too difficult and he is happy he made the move.
Griffin competes in the triple and long jump for FSU. During his first meet of the indoor season, he placed first in the Wildcat Invitational in the triple jump, recording a distance of 49'9.25" (15.17m). Griffin also helped the Seminoles win their third consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference Indoor Championships, taking third in the long jump with a career-best mark of 24'3.5 (7.40m).
Balancing school and athletics and academics for Griffin is getting tougher now because he is in his upper level finance courses. He keeps in mind that in order to attain other goals, including graduate school and a career as a commercial loan officer, he must stay focused.
"I'm just taking things one day at a time," commented Griffin. "I feel like if I didn't compete in athletics, I would probably waste my time or not use it wisely.
Griffin aims for a 4.0 GPA every semester. Having such a rigorous work, academic and competition schedule, helps in succeeding in the classroom.
When he is not in class or on the track, Griffin enjoys playing basketball or video games. Since he does not play basketball at FSU, he enjoys watching a Seminole game or two.
Look for Griffin to continue to achive great feats during his time at FSU, both academically and athletically, as well as in his future.