Two Penn State athletes won medals Sunday at the U.S. Track and Field Championships and booked spots at the world championships.
Isaiah Harris and Joe Kovacs both turned in second-place finishes in the 800-meter run and shot put, respectively, to land on Team USA. The IAAF World Championships will be held in London in August.
Harris, a Nittany Lion sophomore, blazed to a time of 1 minute, 44.53 seconds for his silver medal, finishing 0.39 behind Donavan Brazier.
“It feels amazing to come out here and make the World team,” Harris said on USATF.org. “It is a dream come true. I couldn’t have asked for anything else; this is what I dream of. I felt so good and hit a PR too. After three days of racing, it feels amazing.”
Kovacs, a Penn State graduate and Olympian last summer in Brazil, registered a top throw of 73 feet, 4 inches on his final attempt, bested by Ryan Crouser’s 74-3 3/4 on his final attempt as well. Kovacs had already made the London field based on his performances earlier in the year.
“This whole year, all we cared about was London,” he said. “I got the automatic bid into London, so I just had to show up today, I didn’t have to do well. You know, I wasn’t trying to throw far. I am only coming from L.A. ... so figure I try and put on a show for the fans.”
Kovacs had some familiar company in the battle. Former Penn State assistant coach and Central Dauphin Ryan Whiting product took third at 70-8, and another ex-Nittany Lion, Darrell Hill, was fourth at 67-7.
Also, Penn State’s Malik Moffett was 14th in the long jump at 25-0 3/4. On Saturday, in his final competition in a Penn State uniform, Michael Shuey was third in the javelin at 255-8, which broke his own school record but did not meet the qualifying standard to compete in London.
“This is my first year after elbow surgery, so it feels great to throw this well,” he said. “Every meet’s been a stepping stone. I’m just trying to have fun (with) it. At college meets, there are a lot of good foreign throwers, and it’s great to learn from them. But it’s kind of fun coming here and hanging out with the Americans.”