Joe Harris ready for final state competition

November 04, 2003|JILL ERWIN

BURGIN - Joe Harris is going to his final Class A State Cross Country Championships, but he might be working hardest of all this time around.

The Burgin senior has been to the state meet in Lexington every year he's been in high school. He's back this year despite not reaching his goal at the Class A, Region 4 meet last Saturday at Admiral Stadium where he finished seventh with a time of 19 minutes, 8 seconds on the 3.1-mile course.

"I knew I would try to make state," Harris said. "I was trying to be top five in the region, but that didn't happen. I was hoping for a little better, but that's good enough, I guess. I'm never satisfied."

That determination to improve mixed with his desire to have a good showing at the state meet means Harris will be working to better his regional race results.


"It makes me push myself harder because I didn't achieve what I wanted to achieve," Harris said. "Usually if you get or surpass what you're going for, the next one's a little bit of a letdown. But now I've just got to train harder."

That training has been more difficult for Harris this year. Burgin used to have full boys and girls cross country teams, but had only three runners in the two Class A regional meets Saturday - Harris, his younger sister Ann and Wesley Goss. Both Ann Harris and Goss are freshmen.

"We'd like to have two full teams, but we just haven't had the people come out," Joe Harris said. "It's not hard to dedicate ourselves, but it's hard not having any competition to run against in practice. It helps when you have someone you're trying to beat in practice."

Ann Harris also qualified for state with a time of 24:32, her first time making the state field. She ran for Burgin when she was in the sixth grade, but took the last two years off to play middle school basketball.

She didn't plan on it taking her this long to get back into the swing of cross country, but she said she's getting more comfortable as time goes on.

"I was kind of disappointed at the beginning because my times weren't as good as they were in sixth grade," Harris said. "I came back and expected to be right where I left off. I'm just working to get back to my better times. I was just hoping to improve and do the best I could."

Throughout the season, she entertained thoughts of making the state. But she also knew her times were not guaranteeing her a spot.

She finished 12th at the regional meet and was one of seven individual qualifiers for state.

"I was hoping I would, but my times are kind of on the edge of going and not going," Harris said. "I was just hoping I'd get a chance.

"It was one of my best times. I think my best time is just a few seconds faster than this."

The siblings said having one last chance to compete together is important to them.

"It's nice to have her around," Joe Harris said.

"She's having a hard time coming back, but she'll get there.

"It's special, mostly because it's his senior year and it's his last chance to go," Ann Harris said.

It's a chance Joe Harris plans to make the best of.

He said knowing that last week was his final regional meet made the final results that much more difficult to accept.

"It makes it a little tougher to swallow, not getting what I wanted," Harris said. "I'm going to be ready for state."

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