Har­ri­son com­petes in track meet in Cuba

Wal­dorf res­i­dent is part of win­ning re­lay; ris­ing se­nior has in­ter­est from mul­ti­ple col­leges

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com Twitter: tblack­somds1

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.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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.

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