St. John’s sprinter captures Gatorade honor

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Eric Harrison Jr. was a standout in the DCSAA sprinting events. (Photo by Cory Royster, February 2017)

Throughout the spring, Eric Harrison Jr. consistently sprinted past the competition to rack up first-place finishes and medals for St. John’s. On June 22, his efforts were rewarded with another award when he was named the Gatorade D.C. boys track and field athlete of the year.

It was a historic win for the recent graduate and for the school. According to a news release, he was the school’s first boys track star to capture the honor.

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“Eric Harrison is one of the most talented sprinters that I have had the opportunity to train in years,” his coach, Alonzo Ruffin, said in the release. “He’s been blessed with a God-given talent and he knows how to use it.”

Harrison won gold medals in the 100-meter dash with a speedy time of 10.67 seconds and the 200-meter in 21.33 seconds at the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship meet. His efforts buoyed the squad to a second-place finish as a team.

Eric Harrison Jr. was a standout in the DCSAA sprinting events. (Photo by Cory Royster, February 2017)

In addition to athletic prowess, the Gatorade award takes into account work in the community and academic achievement, and he excelled in both areas. Harrison volunteered locally on behalf of Genesis HealthCare, Catholic Charities and New Life Ministries and as a youth football coach, all while maintaining a B average in the classroom. He has inked a National Letter of Intent for a scholarship at Ohio State.

The Gatorade honor also gives Harrison the opportunity to choose a national or local youth sports organization to receive a $1,000 grant as part of the Gatorade Play It Forward program. Harrison could also win an additional $10,000 for his cause if his essay about why his chosen organization deserves the donation is selected for one of 12 spotlight grants.