In only her second season running for the UW-River Falls women’s cross country team, junior Tia Harris has already emerged as the team’s top runner.
Harris was the first Falcon across the finish line at the Falcon Invitational, and was the sixth runner to cross the line overall. Leading her team in a race is something new for Harris.
“I’ve never been the lead runner. In high school I was normally runner five or six, and last year I was runner eight until conference, when I was third,” Harris said.
At the WIAC Championship Meet last fall Harris finished the 6k race in a time of 23:27. At the Falcon Invitational, Harris finished a little more than 30 seconds fast than the time which she ended her season with last year.
She wasn’t the only runner on the team to see improvement from last year, something which Harris attributes to hard work over the summer.
“Multiple people saw themselves starting where they finished last season. Which is a huge step so you can drop so much more time by conference and regionals,” Harris said.
However, Harris, originally from River Falls, did not start out her athletic career by running cross country.
“I played volleyball for six years, and then decided I didn’t like it anymore,” Harris said. “So I quit and joined cross country” So far, that is a move which has turned out well for both Harris and the team.
Harris, a business management major, said that she would like to work in a field where she could lead more by example rather than managing every person, a trait which Co-Head Coach Matthew Cole said he already sees in Harris, and other members of the team.
“There are leaders on the team who lead by performance, work ethic and practice,” Cole said.
While the season is young, Harris already has her sights set on both the WIAC meet, hosted by UWRF, as well as the regional meet.