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Saturday, March 2
The Indiana Daily Student


Walk-on leads team to successful season

IU's men's track team is full of athletes who run without a scholarship. There are a limited number of scholarships available and many positions to fill. One of these walk-ons to the team has helped play a large role in the teams' success this season. \nJunior Matt Harris is a 60 meter hurdler who currently ranks fourth in the Big Ten. He also is the school record holder with a time of 7.98 seconds. \n"When I first came here I was just trying to compete but after I realized that through training and hard work that I was as good as anybody else on the track my focus changed," he said. "I try to do more things like score points and contend for a Big Ten Championship."\nHarris has run the record time twice, once last year at the Big Ten Indoor Championships and then again last weekend. This is just outside of the NCAA provisional mark in his event, 7.9 seconds. He might have beaten that mark last weekend if he had not looked up at the scoreboard to check his time as he finished.\n"This weekend I will go full straight ahead and not turn my head and see what happens," he said. "I am tired of being at home watching things on TV. I want to be part of the action." \nAs a walk-on Harris still needed help to pay the tuition bill. For that reason, six months prior to coming to IU he went to the National Guard where he earned a scholarship to help pay for his education. In high school Harris used that same work ethic to become a good hurdler, but he did not always run well during the big meets. That is not a problem anymore for several reasons.\n"I think he has become more mature and is getting stronger," head coach Marshall Goss said. " I alsothink he knows his event better now than he ever has."\nOne of the things he now knows is that he is currently ranked fourth in the Big Ten. He also understands that he has beaten the three individuals ranked ahead of him at one point in his career.\nHarris doesn't have to try to win on his own though. Sophomore teammate Micah Harvey is coming back from an illness and looks to push Harris in the Big Ten Championships.\n"We compete against each other but we also help each other," Harvey said.

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