Jeff Harwell
Class of 2019

Jeff Harwell

When Jeff Harwell got the letter that informed him he was being inducted into the 2019 class of the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame, it was like a porthole into a previous life.

Harwell’s days now are spent watching his 14-year-old sons and 10-year- old daughter perform their own athletic feats. His days as a star track and field runner for Athens Bible School seem like a distant memory.

“It’s kind of weird, because it’s been so long. I just thought, ‘Wow, somebody remembers me,’” Harwell said about his induction. “It was almost like another lifetime ago. I’m a father of three, now watching my kids play basketball, so it’s hard to even think about those times now. I’m like, ‘Wow, it really was me.’”

Harwell, who currently resides in Louden, Tennessee, starred at Athens Bible from 1980–85, running track and cross country. He finished his career at ABS with 13 state championships and five state records. Harwell signed with Troy State (now Troy University) and was an All-Conference selection for the Trojans, competing collegiately from 1985–88.

One of the highlights of his career occurred in the summer of 1984, when he was invited by the International Sports Exchange to participate in the Rhine River Run in Germany. He not only participated in the race, but was the top American finisher.

Harwell said when he looks back on the championships and records he set at Athens Bible, he can hardly believe it. “You almost forget that really was you,” he said. “You think, ‘Oh yeah, those were some pretty good days after all.’ It’s very nice to be remembered, and it’s such an honor to be selected for the Hall of Fame.”

Harwell is only the fourth Athens Bible athlete to be selected for the Limestone County Sports Hall of fame, joining baseball standout Keith Schrimsher, basketball star Cody Sweetland and volleyball player and coach April Davis.

Harwell said he hopes the school feels as honored as he does being selected to the Hall of Fame.

“I hope they can take it that way,” he said. “I feel like it is (an honor for the school). After they told me about the induction, I got to reflecting from way back when, and I thought about the Meet of Champions. Back then, they would invite the state champions from all the classifications to race each other. I won the mile race and thought I was kind of striking a blow for the small schools.”

Harwell said he was drawn to distance running because it is one of the few sports where he makes all the difference in his performance.

“When I started having success, I started to realize my performance in any competition is only limited by my willingness to work,” Harwell said. “You don’t enter the race and your coach pull you out halfway through. You’re going to finish it, so it’s up to you how well you do. If I was willing to work hard, put in the time and put in the effort, I could go as far as I wanted to go.