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Harris sets four-pack medal goal

By DAVID MURPHY
Published April 19, 2007


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Being the fastest man in the area can be a lonely job. All season, DuJuan Harris has torched area competition in the 100 and the 200 meters, leaving him yearning for something more.

"I just need someone to push me," the Central senior said Monday. "I haven't had it yet."

That's not cockiness. That's reality.

At the Springstead Invitational last month, Harris expected to get a test from Land O'Lakes senior Dontarrius Thomas. Instead, he ran a 10.68-second 100 meters, his best time of the season.

At Hernando's Kiwanis Invitational a couple of weeks ago, he had difficulty getting out of the blocks. But he still won. Easily.

The lack of competition is good for the medal count, but it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to preparing for the state meet.

Last year at the regional meet, Harris won the 100 by 0.34 of a second - an eternity when it comes to sprinting - but he didn't qualify for state in that event. He did advance in the 200, triple jump and long jump but finished 14th in the 200, eighth in the triple and sixth in the long jump.

This year, Harris has higher aspirations.

"I want four medals," said Harris, who will play football at Division I Troy next year, "and it'd be nice to have at least one gold."

According to coach Eric Hayes, he'll have to make up for lost time.

"He hasn't faced some of that top-notch competition to get him mentally prepared," Hayes said. "If he'd been pushed earlier, he'd know how he needs to run."

Still, Harris has shown that he is capable of blazing times. The 10.68 he ran at Springstead would have placed third at state last year. And, he points out, most of the runners ahead of him were seniors.

"I don't like going to the meet knowing I'm about to win it," he said.

Starting today, he won't have to worry about that.

David Murphy can be reached at dmurphy@sptimes.com or 352 848-1407.

Fast Facts:

Class 3A, District 7 track meet

When/where: 1 p.m. today; Central football stadium, Brooksville.

Teams: Central, Springstead, Gulf, Hudson, Land O'Lakes, Ridgewood, River Ridge, Wesley Chapel

County outlook: Central's DuJuan Harris has the best chance for district gold, having taken first in the 100, 200, long jump and triple jump last year, but he isn't the only one. Central senior Jessie Hartman won district titles in the discus and shot put last year, while Central junior Jasmine Hudson won the 100 and was second in the 200. Also, Springstead senior Jen Knoer placed second in the high jump last year. Other athletes to watch: Springstead seniors Jason Haynes (200, 110 hurdles), Jeff Haynes (200), and Ethan Selph (long jump, high jump, triple jump).

Class 3A, District 7 Track Meet

Where/When: Central High Football Stadium, 1 p.m.

Teams: Central, Springstead, Gulf, Hudson, Land O'Lakes, Ridgewood, River Ridge, Wesley Chapel

County outlook: Harris is the best chance for district gold, having taken first in the 100, 200, long jump and triple jump last year, but he isn't the only one. Central senior Jessie Hartman won district titles in the discus and shot put last year, while Central junior Jasmine Hudson won the 100 and placed second in the 200. Also, Springstead senior Jen Knoer placed second in the high jump last year. Other athletes to watch: Springstead seniors Jason Haynes (200, 110 hurdles), Jeff Haynes (200), and Ethan Selph (Long jump, high jump, triple jump).

[Last modified April 18, 2007, 21:21:12]


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