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EMBRACING THE GRIND: Redbank Valley’s Mylee Harmon Answering Early Wake-up Calls in Effort to Gather as Many Golds as She Can on the Track

NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT/D9) — The wail of the alarm clock comes early these days for Mylee Harmon.

Four days a week, Harmon is ripped from her slumber at 4:45 a.m. 

Her first instinct is to turn it off, roll over and slip back to sleep. But then the Redbank Valley junior thinks of that disappointing fourth-place finish 11 months ago in the 400-meter run at the PIAA Track and Field Championships, and she throws her legs over the side of the bed and rises.

Harmon was devastated by that setback. She’s embracing the grind to make sure she doesn’t experience that feeling again.

As a freshman, Harmon won the state title in the 400 with an epic final kick in Shippensburg. As a sophomore last May, she couldn’t recreate that magic.

She’s determined to find it this year as a junior.

Even if that means rising before the sun to drive 30 minutes to Punxsutawney to lift weights with her personal trainer, and then drive 30 minutes back to New Bethlehem to attend school.

“I’ve been going since August, and that’s really been helping me,” Harmon said. “I’m stronger now than I was last year. I had never been a big lifter. I did it in gym class a couple of times, but now that I’m doing it consistently, I can definitely feel a difference. The whole purpose of why I’m lifting and why I started this is to do better than fourth place.”

Harmon is hoping the added strength and flexibility will help her on the track now that the calendar is about to flip to May and every meet becomes even more important.

During her workouts, she focuses on her lower body and core. It has translated to some blazing times this season.

Harmon set a school record in the 100-meter dash, finishing in 12.45 seconds. She also snapped the mark on the 200-meter dash at 25.88.

She already holds the record in the 400 with her state championship effort of 57.15 in 2022, and in the high jump at 5 feet, 4 inches.

Harmon added another record to her growing total in an event she ran for the first time on Monday: the 300-meter hurdles.

With just one practice under her belt, Harmon went out a finished in 46.6 to snap the school mark of 47.2 established by Nadia Kundick in 2007.

“The hurdle coach was like, ‘Why don’t you try them?’ I was like, ‘Eh, OK,’” Harmon said, chuckling. “I wasn’t really feeling good or bad about trying them, then I did and it did really well and got the record. I got a big adrenalin rush, and I fell in love with them right there. I’m gonna keep working on them to see what I can do.”

There’s a problem, though.

There’s a reason athletes rarely take part in both the 400 and the 300 hurdles — the two events are run back-to-back and both are physically taxing.

“There’s a lot to think about,” Harmon said. “I just have to get in better shape, I guess.”

Harmon isn’t sure where the season will take her, but she said it’s comforting knowing she has plenty of options on what she can compete in come district time.

“I looked forward to the 400 last year,” Harmon said. “I got a 59.77 at Slippery Rock, which I was happy to get under 60, but I don’t know. I’m still feeling like I look forward to the 100 now more than I do the 400. And now the hurdles.”

Saturday will be an excellent litmus test as Harmon and Redbank Valley will be at the Brookville Invitational, which features many of the District 9 teams and athletes she will go up against in the District 9 meet in the later part of May.

The Brookville event was postponed two weeks ago because of inclement weather.

“I’m doing the hurdles instead of the 400 there,” Harmon said. “It’s whatever I have the best shot at doing well in at states. That’s what I’m thinking right now.”

Harmon doesn’t care what event she runs, as long as she can do it better than anyone else.

That’s always been her goal. To step atop a podium as many times as she can.

“I’m just shooting for a gold medal (at the state meet), no matter what event that is in,” Harmon said. “And I want to get four gold medals at districts, whatever those might be.”

Harmon, who made the all-state team in basketball and has scored 1,422 points already in her career, said she will focus on track this summer instead of playing AAU basketball.

She is leaning toward running in college and has already received more interest in track than she has for basketball.

“I’m thinking more track,” Harmon said. “I’ll get deeper into that soon.”