LEWISTON — Members of the Lewiston High School indoor track team were stunned on several occasions Thursday afternoon during an assembly in the gymnasium. A hush fell over about 80 of the team members and coaches as it started with a rare moment. Their usually hard-nosed athletic director, Jason Fuller, became emotional and at times was at a loss for words, wiping away a tear and choking up as he spoke about one of the most celebrated athletes to ever graduate from Lewiston High School.

“You will never meet a more dedicated, hardworking, true and humble athlete as Isaiah,” he said before introducing former Lewiston High School multiple state champion runner, Isaiah Harris, a 2015 graduate of Lewiston.

Fuller went on to laud not only Harris’ accomplishments on the track, which continued at the collegiate and now professional levels, but as an overall good human being and perfect role model.

“Isaiah didn’t have an ideal upbringing and had every excuse to go down the wrong path, but he didn’t. He persevered, worked harder than everyone else, led by example and went above and beyond. It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what kind of background you come from, with hard work and dedication, you can realize your potential,” Fuller went on to add.

After being introduced and given several Lewiston High School sweatshirts by Lewiston Superintendent of Schools Jake Langlais, Harris talked to the athletes and coaches about his upbringing and sang praise for his mentors that supported him through his formative years. Teachers, friends, coaches and strangers in the community who stepped up to help him for no reason other than they were awed by his character and determination to make something of himself.

With multiple scholarship offers to Ivy League colleges and universities, Harris fell in love with Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania, after visiting the campus, where he went on to win multiple Big Ten championships and secure top finishes in the NCAA Division I championships, culminating with becoming the 800-meter outdoor champion in 2018.


“After winning the championship, I received multiple offers to run professional. During contract talks, I made it clear that if I turned professional, they would pay for my final year of college and allow me to train with the team and finish my degree. I knew it would be difficult to come back after my running career ended and get back to school, and it was important for me to get my degree,” Harris told the athletes as they watched with rapt attention.

At the end of his speech, he talked about how he wanted to give back to Lewiston and the school that means so much to him, as a dolly of boxes were wheeled out behind him. “Every one of you are getting a pair,” he said before he and the coaches called out each athlete to come forward to get their sneakers, donated by shoe company Brooks, the parent company of the Brooks Beast Running Club that Harris runs for.

After turning pro in his junior year, he signed a four-year contract with Nike. When that ran out, he was offered another with the athletic apparel behemoth, but decided to take the offer of Brooks, a company known for casual running apparel that was jumping into the professional running footwear market. “They are the underdogs, like me, and that really spoke to me and part of what motivates me,” Harris said.

After a group photo with the athletes and coaches, most of the Lewiston team raced from the bleachers to surround Harris, asking him to sign their new sneakers and other items. Many stuck around to talk and pepper him with questions.

“It was such a surreal and fulfilling day,” Harris said. “This will be one of those core memories cemented into my brain forever. Seeing the smile on all the kids’ faces made me extremely proud of myself and the company I’ve aligned myself with. It was a dream come true.”

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