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Track and Field  . 

Harbor Looking for Strong Finish to Busy Freshman Year

by Brad Muller

Nyck Harbor isn’t a football player who also runs track. He’s a world-class sprinter who aspires to be the best, and he’ll have a chance to prove that when the South Carolina freshman travels to Eugene, Oregon, with the Gamecocks next week for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship.

“I’m just blessed to be here,” said Harbor, who qualified in the 100-meter and 200-meter races. “I just want to thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to run and showcase my abilities. Making it (to nationals) in both events is a big accomplishment.”

Harbor was one of the more heralded names coming into the program as the two-sport star competes on the track and as a member of the football team, and he hasn’t disappointed. He recorded several of the top ten times in program history in his events during the indoor season and continued to shine in the outdoor season after qualifying for nationals in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints. At the NCAA Regional, he ran a personal best 10.11 in the 100m and left a vapor trail behind him in the 200m as well, with a personal best 20.20, which was the second fastest outdoor 200m time in Gamecock history, to punch another ticket to nationals.

“The transformation is real in terms of him not having a track and field fall season (due to football),” said South Carolina track and field head coach Tim Hall. “What he has done in a short period of time is amazing. He is a super talent. My job is to make sure we return him to football like we found him. We want to teach him and educate him on sprinting so the football team can benefit when he comes back there to play wide receiver.

“For him as a freshman to put down those kinds of numbers, it is amazing. He is at a point where he is still learning and still adapting. The sky is the limit for him. He can do tremendous things in track and field.”

“It would mean going from not making it at Indoor Nationals where maybe I was rethinking if I should do track, and then going to Outdoor and actually scoring. That would be a dream come true.”
Nyck Harbor  . 

Harbor may have a little more time away from football after the NCAA Outdoor National Championship as he already qualified for the Olympic trials which will be held later this month as well. Balancing time between two sports isn’t easy, but he has handled it well, even if he has to do offseason football work on his own.

“It’s been more challenging (doing both sports) than high school because college football is much harder,” Harbor said. “It really takes a toll on your body. Then you acclimate back to track and field and basically everybody is a professional.

“Most likely I’ll be re-joining football after Olympic trials. Right after that, it’s full steam ahead with football. Every day, I’m in the (football) facility, and if I’m not in the facility, I’m looking over the playbook. I’m going in there late at night and getting the Jugs (football passing machine). Sometimes the security guards are helping me with the Jugs because they’ve got the key to the equipment room to get the balls out for me so I can get more reps in.”

But if he happens to have a great day at the Olympic trials, he’ll be happy to lace up the running spikes a little bit longer.

“I guess my first week would be the Old Dominion week,” Harbor said, referring to South Carolina football’s season opener.

“I’ll be better prepared mentally for football than I was last year. I really think track has helped me. It helped me work on things, mentally.”

After not qualifying for the Indoor Track and Field Championships, Harbor is working hard to score in Eugene.

“That would be crazy,” Harbor. “It would mean going from not making it at Indoor Nationals where maybe I was rethinking if I should do track, and then going to Outdoor and actually scoring. That would be a dream come true. That’s what I’m expecting to do.”