Sophomore places first in 800-meter for Ocean League

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Ava Seccuro staff writer

As a result of his fifth place, 1:58 placement in the South Bay Championships track and field 800-meter race, sophomore Quinn Harris now places first in Ocean League for his event.

For Harris, his record time meant more than his ranking after winning the race. With a previous record (PR) of 2:09, Harris exceeded his expectations by completing the event over 10 seconds faster. His new time has also ranked him fourth among school track and field records for freshmen and sophomores.

“When I got the time, I was going crazy. It’s a weird feeling when you PR something by a lot. Because last year I got 2:09, so getting a 1:58, that was just completely out of the question. I had no idea that was possible,” Harris said. “I stopped and I looked back at my team. I just pointed at coach. I was like, ‘Thank you.’ I was going crazy. I feel great!”

In preparation for the race and for perfecting Harris’ 800-meter throughout the season and for the coming years, head coach Katrina Smith focused on giving Harris a workout regimen that would incrementally build his endurance. This in turn would potentially improve his time along with his skills.

“So, over the course of the season, I worked out a regimented, a developmental work out, which spans the entire season and what that does is focus on progress, building the foundation of the athlete and incrementally working toward expanding their skillsets and capabilities as in endurance, their strength, power, agility and all that,” Smith said. “All of that factors into what Quinn is doing here: starting at over two minutes in the 800 and working his way down to where he’s able to PR at 1:58 for the South Bay Championships.”

With this type of practice, Harris, with the help of his other coach, Michael “Foots” Williams, was able to shave around five seconds off his time from his last PR during this race.

“My previous PR was 2:03. I had never run an actual individual race before then,” Harris said. “[My coach] believed in me. I was just trying to break two [minutes]. So, I see exceeded my expectations.”

Another strategy that Harris’ coaches implemented in his regimen was doing repeated 400 meter sprints.

“We do a lot of 400 meter repeats, which is one lap around the track. Just a bunch of those. We also do long runs every other day, about five miles to get that aerobic base in,” Harris said. “[Smith] has been making us do a lot more speed work. So, just lots of sprints.”

Smith claims that sticking to this tactic will “build his race strategy” and will in fact shave off an additional six seconds from his now 1:58 PR.

“It’s about working on each hundred. So that’s how we are building his race strategy. So, 800 meters is basically, if you add it up, is eight 100 [meter] days [of running]. For the whole two minutes, he has to hit 15 seconds per hundred meters,” Smith said. “For [the South Bay] race, he had an average time of about 14.5 seconds per a hundred. Over the course of this month, we’re hoping [for] 14 seconds. It’ll give him about 56 [seconds] for lap, which would give him about 1:52 actually, which would be most ideal.”

Williams, expects great things from him, but also acknowledges that he must first build up a tolerance for some of the hardships he may experience while running the 800-meter instead of the mile.

“I’m just trying to get him to understand how to run the race. Right now he just learned how to run the race. If he runs the mile like he runs the 800 [meter], oh, he’ll run fast,” he said. “He’d be 1:54,1:52 no problem. But right now, he got to learn how to get through that threshold, that pain.”

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