It was a successful weekend at the Canada West track and field championships for Michelle Harrison.
The fifth-year Saskatchewan Huskies track star posted a time of 8.21 seconds in the 60-metre hurdles event, breaking the Canada West record. She also took home gold medals in the 60-metre dash and the 4×200 metre relay.
Although she’s enjoyed plenty of success throughout her career, her journey hasn’t come without its hurdles, figuratively and literally.
This week may be competition-free, but Harrison will be using the downtime to train ahead of next weekend’s USports national track and field championships in Edmonton.
Even with nationals looming, the last of Harrison’s collegiate career, she had her eyes set on a larger goal, one that’s been in the back of her mind for over a decade.
“I’ve had the Olympics in my head since I was in high school,” she said. “But the way that things worked out with injuries, this is probably the first year that I’ve really had a chance to make it.”
Helping her to reach her goal is a longtime coach, who’s seen Harrison grow throughout her career.
“I was her first coach when she was 10 years old,” said Huskies track and field coach Jason Reindl.
“Over the last two years of being back together, (I’ve seen) just a ton of growth, from confidence to overall understanding of the sport and what she needs to do.”
Harrison praised the coach for helping her get to where she is today.
“He just knows what works for me and what doesn’t,” she said. “We’re able to build on my strengths and weaknesses and create a plan that will hopefully allow me to achieve my goals.”
Her drive and determination, which allow her to be such a goal-oriented athlete, stretches far beyond the track. In fact, it’s found a way into her day job, where she uses it to craft ornate custom cakes that she sells through her website www.michesniche.ca.
Despite the attention to detail required in both her athletic life and career, it’s the differences between the two that help Harrison to find balance in her life.
“When I’m on the track there’s lots of adrenaline, it really ramps things up, whereas I can go home and do that and it just calms me back down so I’m not always at that high,” she explained. “The creativity with the cakes and the aggression and hard work with the hurdles, it definitely works well together.”