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For their own good
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The Sun Belt Conference meetings were taking place on a flight of concrete steps at Central High on Thursday as future Troy University running back DuJuan Harris and current Florida International tackle Andy Leavine joked about their upcoming matchup on Oct. 6.
Leavine, back home for a week after wrapping up his spring semester, told his former teammate he had a lot to learn about life as a Division I athlete. Harris, meanwhile, guaranteed a Trojans victory over the Panthers He was joking ...we think.
Even as the former Bears stars yukked it up about the upcoming season, football seemed a million miles away.
See, Harris still has a high school track meet left.
And it happens to be a big one.
"It has dawned on me, " said Harris, who will compete in four individual events at today's Class 3A championships.
"It's hit me plenty of times."
Harris enters today's meet with a good chance at achieving the rare feat of medaling in four individual events, which would merit his inclusion as one of the top all-around high school athletes ever to pass through Hernando County.
But the Central senior said his aim is bigger.
"Four gold medals, " he said. "That's my goal."
Truth be told, that goal may be a little unrealistic. The highest Harris is seeded in any of his events is third. While he looks to be within striking distance in the long jump (his 22-9.75 at regionals is less than 6 inches behind No. 1 seed Terrence Mitchell of Hillsborough), he is nearly a full second behind the top seed in the 200.
But Harris seemed confident.
"The times (of some of the other competitors) seem unreal, but I'm ready for it, " he said. "I'm going to use them as a rabbit, somebody to catch up to."
Central senior DuJuan Harris hopes to turn in a rare four-medal performance at today's Class 3A track and field championships at Showalter Field in Winter Park. Here's a look at the events he will be competing in (Springstead senior Jeff Haynes is the only other county athlete participating. Haynes is seeded 14th in the 110 hurdles):