Harris placed third Saturday in the Class AAA 110 meter hurdles at the Georgia High School Association Boys State Track and Field Championship. He ran a personal-best time of 14.91 seconds, just one hundreth of a second from runner-up Franklin Bryant of Rutland. Carrollton's Jonathan Jones won the event in 13.69.
Other local placers included: Woodland's Brandon Thompson, who cleared 6 feet, 2 inches to finish fourth in the Class AAAA high jump; Woodland's Deo Adams, fifth in the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 39.40; Adairsville's Zach Coker, who broke a personal record with a 6-6 in the Class AA high jump, good for fifth place; Woodland's 4x100 relay team -- comprised of Twan Terrell, Josh Young, C.J. Woods and Trey Thompson -- sixth with a time of 42.43; and, Woodland's Bryce Marratta, seventh after clearing 12-0 in the pole vault.
After failing to make the finals in the 110 meter hurdles as a junior -- he missed out by one spot, finishing fifth in his heat -- Harris had little trouble qualifying this time around, placing fourth in the preliminaries on Friday, with the top eight hurdlers getting spots in the finals. He ran a 15.10 in the prelims.
Harris continued to shave time off in the finals, running well enough for a top-three finish that placed him ahead of a jumble of hurdlers, Westover's Jackie Childs (14.93), Locust Grove's Barry Wyllie (14.94) and Thomson's Jordan Davis (14.95).
"He ran a good race, pretty much what I expected him to run. I knew it was gonna be tight there. He was 6 one-thousandths away from being second. He ran a 14.908; second place was 14.902," Cartersville coach Rusty Grimmett said. "He really ran well. I'm proud of him. He's done well and had some success and has really concentrated and focused here at the end of the season, just couldn't be prouder of him."
Brandon Thompson also fared better in his return to state. The Woodland senior jumped 2 inches shy of his personal best, which was still plenty good, even on a day where state champion Jalen Langston of Chapel Hill cleared 6-6 first, followed by runner-up Austin Card of Pope, who topped the same height. Ontario Williams of Effingham County place third with a 6-4.
"He performed well. I think he was disappointed on the height he went out at," Woodland coach Adrian Steele said. "But, like I told him, even if he would have gotten his best jump at 6-4, it pretty much would've been the same spot.
"Guys came down here and they just pumped out some jumps. It always happens at state. You never can predict what's gonna happen at state," Steele continued. "There's never any guarantee. You just gotta hope [that with] all the coaching ... they take it and use it."
Adams inched up one spot higher on the podium following a sixth-place finish as junior in the 300 meter hurdles. He entered the three-day event with three planned events, including the triple jump and 4x400 meter relay.
The University of Pikeville football signee, however, suffered an injury playing basketball Wednesday, effectively scratching him from the triple jump.
"I pulled him from the triple to save him for 300 hurdles and the 4x400," Steele explained. "I thought he was fully healthy, but he didn't let me know about the ankle injury ... But, he sucked it up, we taped it up. ... He didn't quit [or] throw in the towel."
Adams helped the 4x400 relay team run a 3-minute, 25-second race, which placed it seventh in its heat, not quite enough for a spot in the finals.
Woodland's 4x100 relay team was fifth overall in the prelims before wrapping up its season with a sixth-place finish.
Adairsville's Coker came in fifth after shaking off some nervous first attempts.
"Zach did really well. He broke a personal record. The best he ever did was 6-2 and he got 6-6," Adairsville coach Doug Byerts said of Coker, who was 3 inches away from jumping his actual height -- state champ Maurice Freeman of Oglethorpe County jumped a 6-8. "He honestly did better than we anticipated. ... He started off slow. He almost didn't make the 5-10 [jump]. He had a little bit of jitters. ... [He] did well from there, and I'm really proud of him."
Christian Howell, another Tiger state qualifier, broke his personal best, too -- in the triple jump -- by three-fourths of an inch. Howell jumped a distance of 42-8 3/4 for ninth.
"He just missed his stride a couple of times. If he would have hit the board, he probably would've have been on the podium," Byerts said. "He missed being on the podium by 6 inches. He was disappointed in that, but he did really well. ... Both of those kids put a lot of time in these past few weeks ... and it paid off with personal records."
Additionally, Howell competed in the 110 meter hurdles, which Byerts described as "probably the toughest event." He added, "[It had] two really good heats."
Howell ran a 15.96 for 12th overall.
"It wasn't his best time. He kind of struggled a little bit coming out of the blocks ... but he finished strong," Byerts said. "[It was a] good year for them, a good way of ending their senior year [by] experiencing the state championships like that and competing. They represented Adairsville [High School] and the Adairsville community well."
Each of the athletes at the state meet represented the entire county well by being among the top 16 in the state in their respective events. Other qualifiers included Woodland's Qua Stocks (high jump) and Woods (100 meter dash) and Cartersville's Dandre Quattlebaum (high jump). Stocks was ninth with a jump of 6-0; Woods ran an 11.28 for 12th; and Quattlebaum placed 12th with a jump of 5-10.
"I was proud of 'em that we made it down there," Steele said. "I think some of the performances could've have been a little better, but it's always a privilege and an honor to make it to state where you're competing against the best of the best. ... It's always nerve-wracking when it's your first time down there. You actually realize, 'I'm down at state.'
"Next time, when they come back, they'll be a lot more comfortable," he added of his returning state qualifiers. "It was a special group. We were honored that we were down here at state competing at the Georgia Olympics. Hopefully, we can take some more guys next year."
Grimmett acknowledged Quattlebaum's performance dipped from sectionals two weeks ago but felt his high jumper maximized his senior season.
"He didn't do as well as he had done at the sectionals, but it [was] his first opportunity to go there. He cleared 5-10 and went out at 6-0. I think he had a good season and learned a lot and got a lot out of track and field. We're just proud of him for making it that far," the Cartersville coach continued. "We've enjoyed it, [getting to] watch these kids grow."