LISBON — Lisbon High School’s Nick Harriman is taking a page out of Josef Holt-Andrews’ playbook on how to conduct himself.
Holt-Andrews, who graduated from Telstar in June, was the Class C state champion in cross country last year. He’s currently at Iowa State, where he’s on the cross country and track and field teams.
“As an non-professional runner, I thought he was amazing role model,” Nicholas Harriman said of Holt-Andrews. “He didn’t gloat and he was quite humble about the way he accepted awards and praise.”
“I try to say ‘thank you’ to every single runner who comes past the line that congratulates me, or a parent. I try my best. It’s definitely nice that they are congratulating me on something that I won or anything of that sort.”
Lisbon coach Jeremy Williams took notice that Harriman was trying to mirror Holt-Andrews.
“He kind of emulated Holt-Andrews last year,” Jeremy Williams said. “He kind of inspired him to pursue what Josef had last year.”
Harriman has had a breakout year this year as a junior, winning twice. He also has two runner-up finishes to Winthrop’s Ben Allen.
The two have a friendly rivalary going.
“I’ve been running with him since the sixth grade,” Harriman said of Allen. “Him and I have been going back and forth on Facebook and Twitter on who (would) win MVCs. There’s been definitely a good friendship that has come out of it.”
In the first meeting of the season at Winthrop’s home meet, Allen defeated Harriman by 26 seconds. The second time around at the Mountain Valley Conference’s preview meet halfway through the season, Harrimann cut the deficit down to six.
“We talked about (closing the gap) after Winthrop’s home meet (and said) that at the midseason meet Nick just needs to stick with him and see what he can do in the middle of the race,” Williams said. “He did that at the mid-conference meet.”
On Saturday at the MVCs, the duo finished 1-2 again, this time with Allen expanding the margin. Allen ran a time of 17:20. Harriman crossed the line at 17:55.
The key to Harriman’s success this year has been his times decreasing from race to race. His first race of the season at Maranacook, he finished with a time of 18:39.
His final regular-season race was a win at Lisbon’s home meet, where his time of 17:45 put Harriman eighth on the list of all-time best times at Beaver Park.
Williams said Harriman’s goal is to break the course record before his time as at Lisbon is up.
“I’ve been dropping time almost every single race since I started the season, actually,” Harriman said. “I wasn’t expecting it at all. I was expecting to plateau in the middle of September, which I didn’t, and I was pretty excited about.”
Williams said the work Harriman put in over the summer at speed workouts, running road races and running a half-marathon, have helped his success.
“Each week he’s been dropping a couple seconds here, a couple of seconds there,” Williams said. “He’s averaging about 5:40 at a mile pace per mile, so he’s right where he needs to be to be at the top spots in the conference.”