Harris has one finish line in mind C.M. Wright senior eyes state title

August 25, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

Brian Harris has only one thing to prove this cross country season -- that he can win a state championship.

The C. Milton Wright senior would rather not be remembered as the best runner never to win a state title.

At the championship meet last fall, Harris appeared to be a sure thing in Class 3A, but he collapsed on the course, losing the title to a viral infection he didn't even know he had.

Now, Harris has one final chance to bring home the title. Still, Harris seems calm and focused about the potentially pressure-packed season.

"Brian probably does [feel the pressure]," said Mustangs' coach Bob Johnson, "especially with what happened last year at states. He knows he should have been there, and he knows he has the ability. But he doesn't show anything. He's very relaxed in practice."

Last season, Harris learned to overcome the race-day butterflies, but this time, with the concentration on one race, the pressure is different.

Still, Harris really has nothing else to prove locally. The All-Metro Runner of the Year last fall, he outran all the top competition in invitational meets at Anne Arundel, Howard, Harford and Westminster.

While most of Harford County's cross country pack prepares for Saturday morning's season-opening scrimmage at Edgewood, Harris' attention already is running ahead to the Nov. 13 state championship meet.

"That's the one meet I'm kind of ready for," said Harris. "Everything is pretty much training for that."

Over the summer, Harris accumulated about 500 miles, running twice a day. This month, he has averaged as much as 60 miles a week.

For Harris, most races aren't run against the competition but against the clock. Last year in Harford County, only one runner came anywhere close to him -- Joppatowne's Bobby Simmons, who finished just seven seconds back at the county championship.

"Brian doesn't think so much about being so far ahead of everybody," said Johnson, the All-Metro Coach of the Year. "He looks to his own pace and he looks for certain times."

Neither Harris nor Johnson knows of any talented newcomers to the sport this season, but Harris knows faster runners could emerge just about anywhere. He plans to be prepared.

"I'd like to get my times down a lot faster, because I think that's what colleges are looking for. I've done a lot of hill work at Harford Glen and a lot of fast work [this summer]," said the two-time Harford County champ who set a course record at Harford Glen last fall.

Harris also worked out at the Bel Air Athletic Club five times x xTC week to improve his overall body strength.

After the state title meet, Harris plans to return to New York in November for the East Coast qualifying meet for the Kinney National High School Cross Country Championships. Last year, still weak from the viral infection, he finished well back in the pack.

This year, he would like to be among the top eight finishers who advance to the national meet in December in San Diego.

But first things first. Harris surely would like to go to the Kinney qualifier as a state champ.

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