Next leap for hometown track star: 2008 Summer Olympic Games

By Brian Gomez

Former Corona del Sol High School track and field standout Micah Harris is a hometown boy come home.

Back to the Kyrene Corridor after a whirlwind journey that took him from Corona to Central Arizona College to the University of Oregon, Harris has refocused his goal of making the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Harris, 25, remains optimistic that improvement in his 110-meter hurdles times will be enough to propel him to the 2008 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Beijing, China. He’ll first have to qualify for next summer’s World Championships.

“The more I’m at home, the more I realize my dream,” said Harris, who plans to train here over winter break before leaving for the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.

“I came home and got grounded and got humbled again, and I found another spark to get me back to training.”

Harris’ top time of 13.38 seconds puts him 10th in the U.S. rankings and 24th on the world list. That’s seven-hundredths of a second faster than the time he registered at this year’s Olympic Team Trials. He barely missed a chance to go to Athens.

In some ways, Harris is still a good distance away from the 2008 Summer Olympics. In other ways, he’s a lot closer than many think.

“I feel like I can get out there and do what I need to do to accomplish my goals,” Harris said.

Most of Harris’ structured workouts have taken him back to Hascall Henshaw Stadium, where he first made a name for himself.

Harris played football at Corona from 1995-97, helping lift the Aztecs to a pair of 8-3 finishes and three consecutive Class 5A state playoff appearances. When the Aztecs made the playoffs in 1995, it marked the first time they had qualified for the postseason in four years.

On the track, Harris set multiple school records, including the top mark in the 300m intermediate hurdles. He won the city championship in the 110m hurdles his senior year and also placed second at the state championship meet.

After graduating from Corona, Harris went to Central Arizona, where he ran track for two years. He then transferred to Oregon in hopes of playing alongside larger-than-life quarterback Joey Harrington, now a starter for the Detroit Lions.

Oregon track and field coach Martin Smith didn’t allow Harris to play football, citing a need for him to focus on hurdles. The decision paid off, as Harris discovered immediate results and later earned the 2002 George Scharpf Outstanding Athlete award.

At the Olympic Training Center, Harris plans to work with former USC track standout Tony Campbell, who won the 1982 NCAA outdoor title in the 60-yard high hurdles.

Harris figures most of his efforts will center on refining what he already has accomplished. It could feel like he’s still at home.

“I need to clean up some things,” Harris said.

“At this level, everybody is elite. Everybody is great. It’s just fine-tuning and maintaining and being consistent with your training. Then you’ll be able to break into that next level and be successful.”