It has been six years since Kirk Harvey blazed the track at Centaurus High School, so some might not have realized he was still competing at the college level in the spring.
Was he ever.
The former Warriors standout continued to excel at Metro State, where he became a Division II All-American. His stellar senior season included a fifth-place finish at nationals in the 3,000 steeplechase during the outdoor season, and a seventh-place finish in the same event at indoor nationals.
Because Harvey took a two-year religious mission to Romania after his first year of college, his athletics timeline was delayed accordingly. That turned out to be a good thing, as the distance runner grew into his 6-foot-4 frame and became one of the Roadrunners’ best.
“What stood out to me was the change in the program, I guess,” said Harvey, recounting his Roadrunners career. “Since I’ve been there, I’ve seen three different coaches. So there’s been a unique change of attitude towards running and hope and desire towards trying to win. It’s been nice to have a big part in it.”
Harvey was named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s academic athlete of the year the past two seasons, and has big plans moving forward from graduation. He is applying at dental schools, getting married, and also has ambitions of becoming a pro on the running circuit.
“A lot of it will be mental,” Harvey said. “Not only will the competition increase tenfold, but I won’t have teammates around or as much companionship in training.”
Nick Maas, a first-year head coach at Metro State last year, said Harvey was the perfect athlete to help get a program on the map.
“We wanted good quality people in there, not just good athletes,” Maas said. “And he’s the epitome of that.”
Harvey was something of a self-made star.
“Athletically, he wasn’t a blue-chipper coming out of high school,” said Maas, who was in his third year overall with the program. “But he was one of those guys who put in a lot of effort, a lot of time over the summers to make himself better. It obviously showed over the past two years, especially this year.”
In Harvey’s fifth-place finish in the outdoor nationals in Allendale, Mich., he finished his signature event in 8 minutes, 54.21 seconds. It narrowly missed his school record of 8:53.86. Although the result was satisfying, Maas believes Harvey wanted even more.
Harvey had defeated second-place finisher Tyler Curtis of Colorado Mines during the season, but Curtis and the rest of the rest of the field were on their game in one of the fastest heats in recent memory in the event.
On the flipside, Harvey’s seventh-place finish at indoor nationals was something of a pleasant surprise.
“I wasn’t expecting to be an All-American or even finish in the top 10,” he said. “So for me, it was a very gratifying achievement to surprise many runners and myself on a bigger stage.”
Harvey will live in Lafayette for the summer. He watched Centaurus from afar and feels the Warriors’ program is like Metro State in that it is on a continued ascension to prominence. Former Centaurus standout Chandler Reid was a freshman at Adams State this season, one of Metro State’s competitors in the RMAC, and Harvey spent some time with Reid discussing many aspects of running.
Even with the All-America honors and boatload of impressive finishes, Harvey is most pleased that Metro State’s program is in better shape than when he first arrived.
“I believe it’s on an upswing and I believe it has a more stable situation to excel,” Harvey said. “For any program to excel there needs to be stability and consistency. Metro’s at that stage to take the next step towards becoming a bigger running program.”
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