Isaiah Harris, a rising junior and member of Penn State Track and Field, punched his ticket to compete in the IAAF Track and Field World Championships as part of Team US with a second place finish at the USATF Outdoor Championships in Sacramento on Sunday.
The meet included the top athletes in the country for each event, which included collegiate, professional, and even some high school athletes. The top three finishers in each event qualified to compete in the IAAF World Championships, which will be held in London in early August.
Harris qualified in the 800 meters, finishing second in the final round with a personal record time of 1:44.53, which is a Penn State school record. In order to make it though to that final, Harris raced in two qualifying rounds earlier in the weekend. His first was on Thursday, where he won his heat in 1:48.09 and the second round was on Friday, where he qualified through with a third place finish in his heat in 1:45.77.
The Lewiston, Maine native has been very successful during his first two years as a Nittany Lion. As a freshman, Harris finished fourth in the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 800 meters and carried that success through to the Olympic Trials, where he competed in the same distance and finished sixth. During his sophomore campaign, Harris captured both the indoor and outdoor Big Ten titles in the 800 meters, leading up to a second place finish in the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Also competing in the USA Championships, Mike Shuey captured bronze in the javelin throw. The Penn State senior threw a personal and school record of 77.94 meters on his third throw of the competition. Unfortunately, Shuey does not currently have the required mark to enter the IAAF World Championship meet and will have until July 21 to qualify.
Shuey and Harris were the highlights of the four day long competition, but were joined by six other competing Nittany Lions. Coming off of their first ever Outdoor Big Ten title, the men were well represented. Michael Biddle finished off his sophomore season with an eighteenth place finish in the javelin, throwing 61.08 meters. Malik Moffett competed in both the long jump and 200 meters, finishing 14th and 26th respectively. David Lucas finished off his impressive sophomore season with a tenth place in the overall discus competition and third out of the collegiate competitors, throwing 56.32 meters. Competing alongside Harris, Dominic Perretta, a freshman finished 31st in a time of 1:50.49 and lastly on the mens side, Morgan Shigo competed in the hammer throw, finishing 11th with a best throw of 66.40.
Tori Gerlach was the sole female competitor for Penn State. Gerlach finished her impressive career in the Blue and White with a 15th place finish, running 9:58.42.
The IAAF World Track and Field Championship will be held in London, and Harris will race in the first round of the 800 meters on August 5.