KC’s Harrison matures, carries out plan for state title

Runner is followed by large pack of competitors.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Kirtland Central Bronco Kashon Harrison leads a pack of runners during the New Mexico Cross Country State Championship Class 5A boys race in Rio Rancho, New Mexico on Saturday. Harrison won the meet in a time of 15:54.85, which was the fastest regardless of class.


Some people call losing a state championship a heartbreak but Kashon Harrison isn’t “some people.”

Harrison, a junior cross-country runner for Kirtland Central, came up short last season after going undefeated and finished second in the state meet.

But this year, Harrison wasn’t going to let that happen. He finished first in the New Mexico Cross Country State Championship Class 5A race Saturday in a time of 15:54.85.

“I felt motivated from last season to try more and work harder for the next year and that happened, and now today I got the championship,” Harrison said. “I got a little more mature. It felt great growing up.”

Harrison went undefeated this season, winning top races including the Rio Rancho Jamboree a couple of weeks ago and the Desert Twilight meet in Arizona.

Harrison said he had a plan going into the race and didn’t steer too far from it.

“What I thought was that I probably might win this, but I wanted to see if I could take it all out, but I kind of held back,” Harrison said. “I had a good kick at the end, a little stride, it was fun.”

Harrison started the race in typical fashion – out ahead of the pack. After about a half a mile, he led the pack by a couple of feet with Miyamura’s Ty McCray on his tail.

As the first hill approached, Harrison shifted gears and widened the gap. Harrison’s lead grew as he made his way to the two-mile mark and into the Rio Rancho football arena where he finished strong.

Kirtland Central head coach Lenny Esson said Harrison had goals this season and one of them was to win a state title but also to do it in a way that showed he was serious about his craft.

“It’s growth and also just to redeem himself from last year,” Esson said. “His growth overall just to be that silent leader on the group, just ‘follow me and things will turn out well.’

“This year it was just taking it one race at a time and looking at four big meets that we really wanted to get,” he said. “This (state meet) was the second of the four. Now we go to the post races, Nike nationals and Footlocker.”

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Categories: Track & Field

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at sunnie@navajotimes.com or via cell at (505) 686-0769.