Tim Harris is only a freshman but already a leader on the Miami men’s track team. Harris, who finished third in the 800m at the Duke Invitational last week, fielded questions from our Chris Hamilton.
TH: You won the 800 meters at the U.S. Junior Championships last year. What was that like?
Harris: It was great. I went through a lot of things in high school and winning U.S. Juniors was the icing on the cake for my high school career.
TH: Karron Clement (Florida) just broke Michael Johnson’s 10-year record in the 400-meter Indoors. What is one record you would like to break?
Harris: I’m not really focused on records right now. I just want to establish myself as a good runner in college.
TH: You’re a freshman this year. Do the older guys ever tease you or give you hard time?
Harris: No, we have a pretty young team. Being a real track guy coming in here, coach really uses me as a leader of the team [laughs]. I’m not the guy that they push around. I’m usually the guy everyone looks up to.
TH: Are track stars just born fast or is there a way to increase your speed?
Harris: Coming from Miami, I think we all have a little speed. But I played football in high school and I think the weight training got me stronger and to the level that I’m at now.
TH: Do you have an embarrassing moment that’s happened on the track?
Harris: My sophomore year I jumped the gun in a race and false started at regionals. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if it was a sprint, but it was the mile.
TH: Nearly half of the track team is made up of football players. What is it like having them around?
Harris: To me, it’s nothing different because I used to be one of those guys in high school. We all know each other and it’s not about football players trying to take over anything.
TH: What did you think of the Marian Jones steroid controversy?
Harris: It’s all a lie. I don’t think she took steroids.
TH: At what point will you say “It’s time for me to go pro?”
Harris: [Laughs] Anytime in my college career where I feel like I’ve accomplished the things I want to accomplish and feel that I’m at the top of my game.
TH: Devin Hester vs. Roscoe Parrish in the 100m. Who do you like?
Harris: Well, they would both smoke me [laughs]. But I would have to say Hester because it’s just crazy how he run away from people.
TH: Which do you like better: relays or individuals?
Harris: Individuals. In high school I was the guy everyone counted on. In the state championship, I got the stick in seventh place and had to run like crazy to catch up. I ended up wasting all my energy before the 800m.
TH: What do you need to improve on most?
Harris: I think my sprints. If I get that down, I’ll be one of the top guys professionally. Period.
Chris Hamilton can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.