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Freshman Da'Lon Harris runs :47.71 in 400 meters at Morgan State Meet to qualify for NJCAA Track & Field Championships

Freshman Da'Lon Harris runs :47.71 in 400 meters at Morgan State Meet to qualify for NJCAA Track & Field Championships

BALTIMORE (Apr. 20, 2019) -- On Saturday, the sun was hiding behind the clouds over Morgan State University. But as the day progressed, the clouds moved on and the sun shined brightly upon the 17 teams competing at the annual Morgan Legacy Meet.  Schools from Division-I, II, III and other Community Colleges all descended upon the Earl Banks Stadium to take advantage of the lightning fast track & field facilities. A lot of the college athletes hailing from Maryland have run on Morgan's fast track as the High School State Track and Field Championships are held annually at Morgan State.  So there was some familiarity as well as a chance to compete in front of family and friends.

CCBC Catonsville Freshman Da'Lon Harris had circled this date on his calendar.  His family would be in attendance, his friends who were also running track at other colleges as well as high school teammates would be at Morgan on this day.  He wasn't nervous but anxious to show everyone that he was a different athlete since arriving at CCBC Catonsville.

While attending Forest Park High School, Harris had run at Morgan State many times and looked forward to seeing an old friend as he referred to the track stadium.  He knew the long straightaways, wide turns and how to position himself.  The only difference this day would be the event.  He primarily ran the 100m, 200m or 4x100m relay in high school.  But now in college, it was the 400 meter dash. And dash is exactly what the young man did.

As Harris walked toward the track to set his starting blocks in lane 8, Head Coach Mark Pryor gave him his final instructions. When asked about his thoughts in those few moments before the race, Harris replied "I work too hard to run slow".

The starter's gun went off and Harris was quick out of the blocks. He ran the first 200 meters strong and confidently.  The Coppin State athlete in lane 7 saw Harris's quick start and made sure to match his progress.  As the field of eight runners entered into the final home stretch, Harris was focused on his lane and just getting to the finish line as fast as possible.  He was following the instructions Coach Pryor gave him.

The jumbo-tron scoreboard at Morgan State has live video of the races and immediately following each event, displays the times of each finisher.  Harris looked up anxiously along with his competitors at the score board to see what his official time was.  He knew that he had run fast as his legs were burning, chest heavy and his arms tired.  Just how fast was the question. Harris had placed 2nd in his heat and when the time flashed next to his name a wide grin followed.

Harris opened the season in March running :49.11 at Richmond Univ, the next weekend he ran :48.94 at West Chester PA and now practically at home, he lowered his career best to a very quick :47.71.  Coach Pryor believes it may be a new school record.

More importantly, Dalon Harris had easily surpassed the NJCAA Outdoor National T&F Championship qualifying standard of :48.40.  The time of :47.71 ranks Harris 11th in the national NJCAA 400m rankings placing him above athletes from such Junior College power houses such as Hinds CC, Iowa Central, South Plains in Tx and Barton County Community College in Kansas.

Harris is also just .34 seconds away from qualifying for the USA Under 20 Outdoor T&F Championships, which is for athletes nationwide who are 19 years old and younger.  That event is historically known as the US Junior Nationals.

In looking at the overall results, Harris's time was the 4th fastest out of a total 44 runners and better than all of the college athletes (regardless of Division) but one.  He returned to the track 90 mins later and ran :22.08 in the 200 meter dash.  Again his fastest time this year.  That is what Harris likes about track.  Everyone has to line up and compete regardless of their division, conference or school location.  Now he is looking forward to running against other talented athletes across the nation.

Coach Pryor was pleased with his young athlete's performance.  In just 3 years as head coach, Pryor has successfully coached an athlete in qualifying for the NJCAA National Championships (2 in cross country and now 1 in T&F).  While it has not been easy, Pryor's patience and diligence in his team's training has paid off.  When asked, Pryor is excited about the future and working hard to bring more student-athletes to CCBC Catonsville in building a successful T&F program.  This is just the start.

Event 6  Men 400 Meter Dash
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 Legacy Meet: $ 45.88  4/17/2004   Lashawn Merritt, Unattached                     
   IC4A/ECAC: ! 49.20                                                              
    Comp#  Name                Year School                  Seed     Finals  H# Points
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Finals                                                                             
  1 #  837 Lawrence, Rayon       Unattached                        46.85   8       
  2 #  120 Opuni, Abayie      SO Coppin State           48.50      47.37!  1  10   
  3 #  617 Williams, Rovane      Puma chase a                      47.39   8       
 
4 #   89 Harris, Da'Lon      FR CCBC Catonsville       48.94      47.71!  1   8   
  5 #  933 Kalieta Jr, Thoma  SO Wesley                 47.79      47.72!  1   6   
  6 #  616 Petgrave, Jahlil   SR Puma chase a                      47.76   8       
  7 #  568 James, Brandon     FR Morgan State           47.88      47.85!  1   5   
  8 #  489 Brown, Janoi       SO Maryland-Eas           47.50      47.89!  1   4   
  9 #  131 Holmes, Donte      SR DC International       47.91      47.93   1       
 10 #  573 Rantin, Keon       SO Morgan State           47.91      49.01!  1   3   
 11 #   77 Thomas, Robert     SR Bowie State            49.75      49.33   3   2   
 12 #  566 Henry, Shindell    SR Morgan State           48.89      49.48   2   1   
 13 #  425 Chance, Zenron     SO Kingsborough CC        49.65      49.48   3       
 14 #  114 John, Malik        JR Coppin State           49.05      49.52   2       
 15 #  235 Leach, Kendall     JR Delaware State         49.97      49.63   3       
 16 #  314 Closson, Mekhi     SO Howard                 49.19      50.11   2       
 17 #   84 Cadore, Kwame      SR Brooklyn Eli                      50.23   8       
 18 #  570 Manley, Ra'Mel     FR Morgan State           50.25      50.76   3       
 19 #   75 Sykes, Jalen       JR Bowie State            49.51      50.92   3       
 20 #  125 Turner, Justin     JR Coppin State           50.93      51.03   4      

The track and field team's next scheduled competition is the 15th Annual Paul Kaiser T&F Classic hosted by Shippensburg Univ in PA on April 27th.  

The National Junior College Athletic Association Division-I Outdoor T&F Championships are scheduled for May 16-18th at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, NM.

Link to the full results of the Morgan State Legacy Meet: www.tfrrs.org/results/ 57261/2019_Morgan_State_ Legacy_Track_&_Field_Meet/

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