Harris seeking first PSU national track title
Penn State Junior Isaiah Harris has accomplished so much in his young track career. He has six- Big Ten gold medals, is a three-time All-American and shockingly qualified for the 2017 World Championships at the age of 20.
However, there is one thing missing from Harris’ resume: an individual national title. He’s feeling the pressure to win after being the runner-up last outdoor season but also cause he will be making Penn State history.
Penn State track and field has produced six All-American 800-meter runners in the last decade, including Harris. However, none have won a National Title with four runner-up finishes.
It's not Harris' efforts are not good enough, the competition seems to get better and better each year.
His freshman season, the NCAA record was set by fellow freshman and now-professional runner Donovan Brazier. Brazier won the NCAA Outdoor 800-meter title with a time of one minutes, 43.55 seconds, setting the new NCAA standard. Harris would finish the race in fourth with a time of 1:45.76, which is a time good enough to win NCAAs, let alone be extremely impressive for a true freshman.
The following season, Harris would run into another freshman in the form of UTEP's Emmanuel Korir. Korir would win both the indoor and outdoor NCAA titles, while Harris finished fourth indoor and second outdoor respectively. Korir proved he was no ordinary athlete as he ran 1:43.73 for the #2 NCAA All-Time 800-meter time during the regular season. As Korir went for the NCAA gold, Harris was .37 seconds off of Korir's winning time, followed closely by Joe White of Georgetown and Robert Heppenstall of Wake Forest, both of whom return to school this year.
Through his two years of college so far, Harris is also the man to beat in the Big Ten. He has let to lose an 800-meter Big Ten championship race, winning two indoor and two outdoor races. No person has ever won all eight possible races, something which is possible for Harris.
On the international stage this past summer, Harris made his mark after finishing second at the USA Track & Field Championships to earn a berth to the World Championships. The winner of the race was none other than Brazier, who is currently a Nike athlete.
The two were roommates in London this past summer and both were semifinalists in the 800-meters at the world championships. With two 20-year olds as the best 800-meters runners in the country, the future of USA mid-distance is looking very bright.
Coming back to school after a historic year, Harris wants to make Penn State history but knows that it will not be easy as the talent pool becomes even tougher with the top two NCAA times ever in the event have been set by freshman back-to-back years.
The Lewistown, Maine native sees the Olympic Games as a possible destination in the near future, however his main focus is getting that elusive national title for the current moment.
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