Harris, a sophomore who nearly qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games last spring in the 800-meter dash, ran a 1:14.96 in Saturday’s 600-meter race, which would have been a new world record, had he not finished second to former Nittany Lion Casimir Loxsom, now running professionally for Brooks.
Loxsom edged Harris at the line, officially clocking a time of 1:14.91. The most recent world-record time of 1:14.97 was set just eight days prior, on Jan. 20, by Emmanuel Korir in New Mexico. That mark was still pending ratification, as are Saturday’s times, officially.
Harris is in his second full season running for Penn State. He took the Big Ten by storm last season, setting the all-time conference record in the 800-meter run indoors before also winning the conference title in the 800 outdoors, completing the season sweep. He also ran a 45.2-second split as the anchor of the 4×400-meter relay team for the Nittany Lions. Overall, Harris competed in 10 meets as a freshman, registered 15 top-10 finishes and three wins.
Last summer, Harris nearly qualified for the Olympic games, finishing sixth in the final at the U.S. trials in a time of 1:46.47. He also won gold in that event at the NACAC U23 Championships in 1:47.52.
This winter, Harris has a personal best of 1:46.65 in the 800 meters and 2:22.14 in the 1,000 meters, the best times on the team to date. Saturday, he added the 600 to that list, breaking Loxsom’s school record in the process.
The Nittany Lions have three more meets before the Big Ten Championship meet on Feb. 24-25.