DeMichael Harris named boys track and field player of year

Published 11:12 pm Friday, June 19, 2015

St. Aloysius' DeMichael Harris was selected as the Gatorade Mississippi Boys Track and Field Player of the Year. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

St. Aloysius’ DeMichael Harris was selected as the Gatorade Mississippi Boys Track and Field Player of the Year. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

DeMichael Harris is rather adamant that his favorite — and best — sport is football. He does seem to be pretty good at this track thing, though.

The St. Aloysius sprinter picked up his latest postseason accolade on Friday when he was named the Gatorade Mississippi Boys Track and Field Player of the Year.

“It feels great. It hits me, but it doesn’t hit me at the same time,” Harris said of his success. “It’ll just add on to the great feeling of how well the track season went.”

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The Gatorade award is given to one athlete in each state in each of 14 sports throughout the year, and is one of the most prestigious statewide awards. Harris’ selection marks the second consecutive year that a Warren County athlete has won the Gatorade Track and Field award. In 2014, Vicksburg High sprinter Terrell Smith — who reached the NCAA semifinals in the 200 meters this season for Kansas State — won it.

Harris also won the track and field state athlete of the year awards at the statewide Best of the Preps banquet in May, and from track and field website Milesplit. He was The Vicksburg Post’s All-County boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year as well.

Harris won the Class 1A championship in the 100, 200 and 400 meter dashes at the state meet in May, and was second in the triple jump. He set Class 1A records in the 100 and 400 meters. He was the only person in any classification to run the 100 meters in under 11 seconds, and the only one to run the 200 in less than 22 seconds.

Harris’ performance helped the Flashes claim the Class 1A team championship for the first time, as well.

All of that came after Harris rushed for more than 2,000 yards during football season to lead St. Al to the Class 1A championship game, and also was named the county’s Co-Player of the Year in that sport.

He said some of the lessons about speed that he learned during football have translated to track, and vice versa.

“Acceleration. I think I already had it, but it’s the small stuff you need to take to track,” he said. “You have to have the burst and the drive, and that comes from football. In track, the form you use is everything.”

Harris has only seemed to get better since the high school track and field season ended. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds at a football camp at Mississippi State last week. He’s gotten scholarship offers from Pearl River Community College and Southwest Mississippi Community College, and said Southern Miss has shown a lot of interest for track. More offers will likely come as the football recruiting season heats up in fall and winter.

Harris said he’s looking for a school that will let him play both sports, but is putting most of the recruiting chatter on the back burner as he starts to prepare for football season.

“I’m trying to push for an offer in both football and track. During the football season I want to concentrate on football, though,” Harris said. “I’ll push college to the back side until after football season.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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