Harris jumps into history

Central's DuJuan Harris wins state titles in the high jump and triple jump.

Published May 5, 2007

One of these days, DuJuan Harris will appreciate what he accomplished at the Class 3A state championships Friday afternoon.

He'll realize that he is one of only two athletes in modern Hernando County history to win two gold medals on the same day.

He'll take pride in his two personal bests, in the fact that he was the only person in the field to participate in the long jump, triple jump, and 100 and 200-meter runs.

But as he sat in a tent on the outskirts of Showalter Field following a disappointing finish in the 200, that day had not yet come.

"I didn't succeed in my goal, " said Harris, who "only" won state titles in the long jump and triple jump before failing to qualify for the finals in the 100 and 200.

"That's it. When I don't succeed in my goals, I'm disappointed."

For the record, his goal was four gold medals.

The feat that has been accomplished exactly six times in the 92-year history of the state track meet.

So while he didn't achieve his goal, he also didn't disappoint.

In the long jump, Harris soared 24 feet, 4 inches on his second jump of the finals.

He beat his previous personal best by nearly a foot and sealedthe title (second-place finisher Jasper Howard was more than a foot behind at 23-2.5).

In the triple jump, the finish was a little more dramatic.

On the last round of jumps, Oak Ridge's Jonathan Herrington went 46-10.75, edging Harris' best jump by three-quarters of an inch.

He also brought back memories of last week's region meet, when he stole the gold from Harris on his last jump.

Nevertheless, Harris responded seconds later by flying 47-1 to win the title.

"It's huge, " Central coach Eric Milholland said.

"It's absolutely huge. He always seems to rise."

The only other modern-day Hernando County athlete to win two state titles is former Olympic Sprinter John Capel, who won the 100 and 200 in 1997.

Other area medalists at this year's event were Ridgewood's Ashley Haggard, who finished seventh in the girls pole vault, and Wesley Chapel's Arisa Vaughns-Bush, who finished fifth in the discus.