As senior Serena Harrison crossed the finish line November 2019, the persistent thuds of her opponents’ strides faded into the background.
Having trained three years for this moment, the only competitors Harrison was concerned with were past versions of herself, of the Serena Harrisons that had pushed themselves to break two school records.
She pulled together everything her coach had taught her, reminded herself that she was mentally and physically ready to win that race and finished with confidence that she performed well.
The winning combination of a positive mentality and well-trained body led Serena Harrison to run a record-breaking race that clinched her an All-Decade Team Athlete Award. Currently, Harrison holds the fourth-fastest time for the girls’ 500m race in Montgomery County history.
In addition to her individual performances, she helped Blake earn MCPS records in four relay events, showing why she deserved the title.
Harrison reflects on her victory that day, recalling the various ways she prepared for the event. “It was a lot of hard work, time, and commitment,” she says. “You have to think about the mental aspect of it, making sure you know how to run your race. [You have to] use everything that was taught to you. Also, it’s a bit of a physical part, too. You have to make sure you’re in shape and you’re running well.”
Spoken like a true champion, Harrison adds that she can always push herself to do better. She will further her track career after she graduates, running for Coppin State University in Baltimore on a full ride.
Track coach Darius Oxley helped Harrison condition herself for the race. He describes Harrison as a diligent and focused athlete.
“I think that she was insistent on bettering herself and always trying to improve,” he remarks. “She was most concerned about being [the] best she could be.”
Mr. Oxley offers some wise words for Harrison and her future at Coppin State. “I think that Serena will be as great at track as she wants. I think as much as she pours into the sport, she’ll find as much return as she can ever get.”