United States’ Isaiah Harris reacts after finishing a men’s 800-meter first-round heat during the World Athletics Championships in London in Aug. 2017. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Lewiston native Isaiah Harris followed up his NCAA 800-meter run title two weeks ago with a second-place finish in the 800 final at the USA National Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday.
Harris finished in 1:47.11, good enough for second behind winner Clayton Murphy’s 1:46.50, which was slower than Harris’s second-fastest-ever time of 1:44.76 at the NCAAs. Harris won his semifinal Friday.
There were many similarities between his NCAA championship win and Sunday’s runner-up finish. Harris stayed in the middle of the pack for the first of two laps in each race and started to make his now-famous kick with about 300 meters left to go. The most glaring difference, however, was what was on his singlet.
The color was different — white two weeks ago, black Sunday — but what was missing was the “Penn State” across Harris’s chest. Instead, the now-former Penn State runner donned a black singlet with a single white Nike swoosh signifying he was on to the next step of his running career.
On Saturday, the day between the semifinal and the final, Harris was listed on USA Track & Field’s website as running for Nike, not the university he has spent three years attending. Just prior to the race, Harris made it official on Twitter that he would be turning professional.
“Super excited to be a part of the @Flynnsports family and represent NIKE on the global stage!” Harris wrote on Twitter.
Flynn Sports Management, which specializes in representing track and field athletes, posted on its own Twitter account Sunday that it was “excited” to welcome Harris to the “(Flynn Sports) family.”
Harris will no longer compete for Penn State, but he posted on his Instagram account that he plans to still train on campus while he finishes his degree.
“I think I was just ready for more competitive meets,” Harris said in an interview with the media after the race. “… and preparing for the (world championships), which are a lot later next year, versus running 30-something races in a collegiate season. That was the biggest deciding factor for me. I think I am ready for it and I am excited to just go race against the best in the world.”
Harris leaves Penn State with one national championship, six Big Ten titles and three All-American awards, among many more accolades.