Last weekend, Virginia Tech senior hurdler Queen Harrison did something no woman had ever done.
Winning national titles in both the 400-meter and 100-meter outdoor hurdles competitions at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Nationals in Eugene, Ore., she became the first woman in NCAA history to ever sweep both hurdles events in the same national meet.
Her historic performance put an exclamation point, or two, on an illustrious college career.
“It feels great, and I mean great with a lot of R’s behind the G,” Harrison said. “Not just for NCAA history, but great for my hometown Richmond and Virginia Tech too.”
After winning the national title in the 60-meter hurdles competition at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, Harrison picked up where she left off on the national level when she reached Eugene.
Clocking a school and personal best time of 54.55 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles competition on June 11, Harrison won her first outdoor national championship with grace.
“Queen ran a beautiful race,” Dave Cianelli, Tech director of track and field said. “It was controlled and she was strong at the end, so I was pretty confident that she would win.”
The following day, Harrison topped her career off by winning the 100-meter hurdles title with a time of 12.67. It was her final race as a Hokie.
“It feels really good,” Harrison said. “Coming from seasons past with injuries, changing coaches and changing training styles, this is kind of icing on the cake along with graduating and all the other great things that have happened this year.”
“It means a lot to be able to bring those two titles, along with the 60-meter hurdle title, back to Blacksburg.”
Harrison led the Tech women’s team to a fifth-place finish at the Outdoor Championships.
“The women getting fifth is the highest we have ever been, I am a little disappointed we didn’t get fourth, but we just missed it,” Cianelli said. “Queen had a phenomenal meet.”
Prior to her final few appearances as a Hokie, Harrison spoke of her career at Tech, claiming she wanted to make her school proud.
“I think for anyone, it’s very important whenever you do something or go somewhere to leave your mark,” Harrison said. “That’s what I’m trying to do here.”
Running in orange and maroon, Harrison spent four years in Blacksburg setting and resetting school records.
In 2008, she made school history by becoming only the second Hokie and first female track athlete to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
Despite an untimely injury during her junior year, she entered her senior season synonymous among Hokies fans with the Tech track and field program. Over the course of her final season, she represented her school well.
Winning ACC Women’s Track Performer of the Year honors during the indoor season, ACC titles in the 100-meter and 400-meter outdoor hurdles, while earning ACC Women’s Track MVP honors during the outdoor season, Harrison left no accolade behind.
But still, Harrison felt she needed to do more to make her school proud in the waning weeks of her college career.
In her final effort last weekend, it’s safe to say she did just that — and for Harrison, it had been a long time coming.
Her closing scene in Oregon marked the culmination of a trying college career. From her freshman year when she joined the Tech track and field team as a jumper, through her change to hurdler to her ensuing national dominance, Harrison’s work paid off.
Charles Foster, Tech sprints, hurdles and jumps coach noted that work ethic throughout her final season.