From basketball to NCAA history: JuVaughn Harrison’s journey to the track

Road to the Olympics

BATON ROUGE, La. – JuVaughn Harrison has won the most individual national titles in LSU men’s track and field history, but the Alabama native’s first love wasn’t on the track.

“If you ask JuVaughn right now, he’ll tell you: it’s basketball. His main sport is basketball,” his mother Georgia Harrison said.

JuVaughn loved the hardwood more than any of the three sports he played in high school, football, basketball and track & field. However during his junior year, Harrison had to put down the orange because of conflicts with his school schedule.

“It was very hard at first because he just basically gave up. I told him just to foster all that energy as he would on the court into track and field, and it will take him places,” Georgia said.

She was correct. JuVaughn earned a full ride to LSU, but her son had a difficult time adjusting to the collegiate level.

“There was one time he called me, when he first went there as a freshman, crying, saying he wants to come back. He doesn’t want to stay, but that was just based on training. I told him he has to trust the process.”

The process worked, and during his sophomore season, in 2019, JuVaughn made history. He became the first man to perform long jump and high jump at the NCAA Championships and earn titles in both events.

“It’s overwhelming. I’m very joyful. I’m very happy for him to see where he’s coming from and for him to be so humble and trying to dominate both. At one point, I said to him ‘do you think that you want to pick one? Which one is the best one?’ because not knowing if you can do both. He was like ‘mommy, trust me. I got it.'”

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