Sophomore has two more years to reach target

By Adam Reed

Dec. 9, 2015

Eleven seconds! Eleven seconds is probably not a long time for most people. For sophomore cross country runner Brett Harms, however, it is an eternity.

This year, 11 seconds was the difference in missing his goal of becoming an All-American for the first time. Harms finished 56th at the NCAA Division III national championship race with a time of 25:13 The 35th fastest runner, which is the cutoff for All-American selection, finished with a time of 25:02.

“Obviously that (being an All-American) was my probably biggest goal this season, and I came up a little short of it,” Harms said. “Overall it went really well, it was another really good experience and gave me more confidence.”

After posting a personal best 24:39 finish in the regionals, some might think this performance would be disappointing, but Harms is staying positive, and staying committed to achieving his goals.

Harms is a two-sport athlete, running both cross country and track for UW-Whitewater. He has always been a competitor, competing in basketball, baseball, soccer and football during his time at Whitewater High School.

“I actually come from a basketball family, which is kind of cool,” Harms said. “I always thought I would be a college basketball player…in eighth grade our middle school offered cross country so I tried that…obviously that worked out pretty well.”

It was this early competition and hunger for success that drove Harms to cross country, and it was a perfect fit. He progressed quickly after that initial year, and by the time he was a sophomore he was already viewed as a leader on his team.

History has repeated itself for Harms here at UW-Whitewater, assuming the mantle of the number one runner on the team this year and all of the leadership responsibilities that go with it.

“Since Brett is from Whitewater, I’ve known him for a long time,” cross country head coach Jeff Miller said. “We knew when he made the decision to come here that we were going to be getting a really good runner, and I’m really not surprised at what he’s been doing.”

Harms’ coach describes him as the leader that you need to have for everyone else to look up to, pointing to his ability to learn quickly and put in the extra work as the traits that have helped him to achieve the success he has so far. In his opinion the sky is the limit for Harms both as an athlete and after graduation.

“He’s a very conscientious person that does all the work you need to do to get things done and doesn’t take shortcuts,” Miller said. “That usually means you’re going to have some more success down the road.”

Harms is in no hurry to graduate, however. He still has several goals he would like to accomplish before his collegiate career is over, and he is doing his best to savor every moment and not take anything for granted.

“Before I’m done here, I’d like to accomplish some bigger things,” Harms said. “My high school coach ran here…I’m excited to have the same memories, my own memories with my own teammates.”

The team is very tightly knit according to Harms, and he does not view himself as being special, but it is clear that he has set an example for his teammates to follow. His example is characterized by hard work, mental toughness and trying to push his own limits every day.

“I think what drives me the most is being the best that I am capable of,” Harms said. “I’m just never satisfied, and I’m always pushing myself to be better.”

Harms is not now, nor will he ever be satisfied with where he is as a runner or a person. He said he is, however, happy with who he is as he struggles to raise the bar, 11 seconds at a time.



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