Isaiah Harris Wins NCAA 800m National Title
Penn State junior Isaiah Harris the 800m national runner-up a year ago surprised NCAA record holder Michael Saruni of UTEP running a personal best 1:44.76 to win the 2018 NCAA title.
Harris who entered the meet with a best of 1:45.31 on the season, advanced to the final on Wednesday as he nabbed an automatic qualifying spot by finishing first in the third section in a time of 1:46.99.
After the prelim he told reporters that he thought he could run with Saruni.
"I think Friday is going be a lot of fun, I'm ready to win."
Fun it was for the junior from Lewiston, Maine.
Harris got off to a strong start and settled into the pack as he went through the first 400m in a quick 51.54 which had him in the 5th spot.
When Michael Saruni made a move with 300m to go, Harris was the only one to cover the move as he followed the NCAA record holder before dropping in behind his slipstream as they hit 200m to go.
Saruni continued to lead but was unable to put a gap on Harris as they hit the top of the homestretch. Harris who is known for his strong finishes continued to pump his arms and pulled even with Saruni with 50m to go.
The last 50m Harris continued his strong finish as he pulled away for the victory. Marco Arop a freshman from Mississippi State closed well too to nab the runner-up finish in a personal best 1:45.25.
Harris closed his final 400m in 53.22 the fastest in the eight man field. His time moves him to 12th fastest performer in NCAA history.
Harris who finished as the runner-up a year ago repeated that finish indoors this winter, is no longer the bridesmaid after today.