Harrison, Balers plan on finishing strong

San Benito High sophomore Shraee Harrison, seen here in action against Monterey on Jan. 16, plans on finishing the season strong before returning to the track.

When Shraee Harrison opted not to compete for the San Benito High track and field team as a sophomore last year, it took many by surprise.
After all, Harrison showed blazing speed as a freshman, finishing in 50.72 seconds in the 400-meter run semifinals at the Central Coast Section Track and Field Championships.
The showing placed Harrison 12th overall, just four spots from qualifying for the finals. Harrison’s PR in the event is in the mid-49 range, and if he improves on that time this year, he’ll find himself in contention for a CCS individual title.
When the 6-foot-4 Harrison makes a return to the track this season, he plans on running the 200, 400, 4×100 relay and 4×400 relay.
“I didn’t do track last year because I knew I’d be back for track in my junior year,” said Harrison, who is also a standout forward on the basketball team. “It’s going to be exciting to get back out there, and hopefully in time I’ll get to 100 percent.”
Harrison was referring to a nagging ankle injury he sustained in early December, which sidelined him for a month. Eager to get back on the court, Harrison returned to action not quite at 100 percent, but he was OK with that.
“I didn’t want to miss any more time, and it wasn’t like I was going to permanently damage my ankle,” he said. “There’s still a little bit of pain, but it’s no big deal. I just want to help the team improve.”
It’s been a trying season for the Balers, who entered the week at 5-16 overall and 2-7 in the Monterey Bay League’s Gabilan Division. Due to a variety of factors, San Benito has never really had its full lineup of players at one time this season.
“We just try to stay positive,” Harrison said. “We’re getting better in every practice, and we’re looking to close out the season on a good note. Our improvement might not show in wins, but it’ll set us up to have a better season next year.”
After Friday’s game against Salinas, the Balers finish the season against Monte Vista Christian. In Harrison’s absence, guards Tommy Hernandez and John Barrientos played well.
However, Harrison was the only returning player with significant varsity experience, and it showed.
Harrison noted that he tried to take a leadership role in helping communicate coach Mike Baumgartner’s system of play to the rest of the team, and trying to keep his teammates cool-headed in the midst of some blowout losses.
“If the players got frustrated, I’d tell them to come to me,” Harrison said. “I’m just looking for the team to play better with each other. We want to get the offense right, commit less turnovers and see how we can better our game overall.”
Last year, Harrison didn’t try out for track so he could focus more on the club basketball season. Even though basketball is his favorite sport, Harrison realizes his future might very well be on the oval.
After all, running is in his genes—literally. Harrison is the son of former Olympian Alvin Harrison, who regularly works out with his son. Shraee said the toughest workout his dad has put him through was 16×100-meter repeats at 85 percent max effort with just a 30-second recovery in between each interval.
“That’s a world class workout,” Harrison said.
Of that, there is no doubt. Harrison plans on having a spectacular track season, but first things first: Harrison wants to finish the basketball season on a positive note.
“We just need to see progress,” he said. “After basketball season I’m going right to the track. I don’t think I have time to get to 100 percent.”
Time, as they say, waits for no one.

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