October 23, 2017
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Lewiston star leads Penn State to Big 10 track title

By Ryan McLaughlin, BDN Staff
Kirby Lee | USA Today Sports | BDN
Kirby Lee | USA Today Sports | BDN
Isaiah Harris runs the anchor leg on the Penn State 1,600m sprint medley that won its Championship of America heat in 3:17.40 during the 123rd Penn Relays at Franklin Field on Apr. 28, 2017.

Isaiah Harris just keeps on winning, and his Penn State University teammates are following suit.

The Lewiston native and Nittany Lions sophomore claimed his fourth consecutive Big 10 title in the 800 meters over the weekend as Penn State captured its first conference outdoor championship in program history.

Harris, who was among a throng of Maine athletes to compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials last year, posted a winning effort of 1 minute, 49.68 seconds over the weekend in State College, Pennsylvania.

Harris held off University of Minnesota senior Mitch Hechsel, who came across in 1:50.84.

That winning effort helped Harris lead his Nittany Lions to the team crown.

Penn State won a close duel with archrival Ohio State, nipping the Buckeyes 117 points to 103.

If his winning the 800 wasn’t enough, Harris also anchored Penn State’s runner-up 4×400-meter relay team, which posted an effort of 3:05.22.

“They competed really hard this weekend. This has been personally a date I’ve had on the calendar for three years when we first found out we were going to host in 2017 as a goal to host a great championship and have two teams that could contend,” PSU head coach John Gondak said in a story on the team’s website.

Harris gets this weekend off from competing before heading to the three-day NCAA preliminary round meet at the University of Kentucky, starting on May 24.

He advanced to the men’s 800-meter final indoors, and should be one of the favorites to contend again this spring.

MDI duo on fast track

A less than desirable spring, at least weather-wise, hasn’t stopped some of Maine’s finest high school track athletes from posting some outstanding times and distances.

The Mount Desert Island duo of Tia Tardy and Ashley Anderson did just that in a meet at Bangor on Friday afternoon.

Anderson, a sprinter, posted a time of 25.69 seconds in the 200-meter dash, while Tardy ran a 5:08.18 in the 1,600 meters.

Between them, Anderson and Tardy own the state’s top times in the 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1,600 meters. They are also ranked first and second, respectively, in the 400.

Athletes are reaching the homestretch of the regular season, with one more weekend of meets on tap before conference championship weekend May 26-27.

Koch runs nation’s fastest 800

Carsyn Koch has not missed a beat after claiming an NCAA Division II championship at 800 meters last winter.

In fact, the Washburn native has only gotten stronger.

Koch, a junior at Cedarville University in Ohio, recorded the nation’s fastest 800-meter time of the spring among Division II competitors in a meet at North Central College in Illinois.

Koch blitzed her competition in running a 2:02.87, a whopping six seconds ahead of her nearest competitor.

Koch, who competed in the 800 at last summer’s U.S. Olympic Trials, is the reigning DII national champion in the event and has won three straight national titles between the winter and spring of her sophomore campaign and her March national title.

Koch was coming off a solid performance in the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford University, where she competed among the best 800-meter runners in the nation, running a 2:04.88 and placing fifth in her heat.

At that same meet, Bangor native Riley Masters finished fifth in the men’s 5,000 meters in 13:29.85.

 


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