Harrison competes in track meet in Cuba
Waldorf resident is part of winning relay; rising senior has interest from multiple colleges
After two years of playing football and running indoor and outdoor track and field at St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., Waldorf resident Eric Harrison decided to focus his attention exclusively on running track prior to his junior year.
Harrison, a rising senior at St. John’s, recently competed for the National Scholastic Athletics Association in the group’s recent trip to Havana, Cuba for the annual Caribbean Scholastic International. One of only 28 members of the NSAF squad selected to compete, Harrison was part of one winning relay and perhaps learned his biggest lessons outside the arena.
“It was a life-changing experience,” Harrison said of his May 24 to 28 trip to Cuba. “I realized that things are a lot tougher in other countries. The stadium was at least 100 years old and it was not in good shape. A lot of their roads were not as good as ours.”
Harrison, who began his track career locally competing for the Charles County Elite, competed in the 100-meter dash, the 200 and the 400 relay. In the relay, Harrison ran the third leg as Marcus Krah (S.C.), Darrell Singleton (S.C.) and anchor Noah Igbinoghene (Ala.) combined to win the final. He did not fare quite as well in the 100 and 200, however.
“Being able to win that relay with my teammates was a great experience,” Harrison said. “They did not have preliminaries. We just went straight into the final. Marcus gave us a good start and we all just added to the lead. In the 100, my blocks slipped at the start and I fell flat on my face. I made the semis for the 200, but I did not come back for the final.”
Harrison essentially earned a spot on the NSAF squad courtesy of his efforts during the indoor season and early part of the outdoor season with St. John’s. During the indoor season he won the 55 dash (6.48) at the Boo Williams Invitational and placed second (6.28) in the Virginia Tech Invitational. He won the 60 dash (6.81) at the University of Kentucky High School Invitational and also won the 200 (22.22) at the Boo Williams and the Emblem Health and took the 300 (36.79) at the UMES High School Invitational.
“I really made it to Cuba because of my indoor season,” Harrison said. “A hamstring injury kept me from competing in a lot of the outdoor meets, but I’m ready to get back into the bigger events this summer. But I’m not going unless I can hit the times that I want.”
Harrison, who has also gotten interest from roughly a dozen colleges who can begin to officially make him offers after July 1, has plans to compete in the New Balance Invitational in North Carolina, the World Junior Nationals in Clovis, Texas, and later in the Junior Olympics in Houston. He admits this summer will test him both physically and mentally.
“I would really like to go to the Junior Olympics,” Harrison said. “That’s really my ultimate goal, but I know what I need to do to make it there. I should be able to go 10.4 in the 100 and 21.0 in the 200. I have gone really good times indoors and they equate to 10.39 and 21.1 in the outdoor [meets]. I know I can go faster than 21.4 in the 200 outdoors because that race is only one turn.”
After two years of playing football and running track at St John’s, Harrison opted to trade in his cleats for running shoes. He admits his former teammates on the football team usually plead their case to have him back on the squad, but Harrison remains dedicated to running track.
“A lot of the guys on the football team see me run track and they try to get me to come back to playing football,” Harrison said. “But I’m done with football. I’m going to run track as a senior and then run in college and I will be happy with that.”
Waldorf resident Eric Harrison, left, recently competed for the National Scholastic Athletics Association in the group’s recent trip to Havana, Cuba for the annual Caribbean Scholastic International.