Bridgeland Senior Lillian Harden Runs 8.40 U.S. No. 2 60mH

Lillian Harden (R) wins the girls 60H with a US No. 1 8.40 performance

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Defending UIL Class 6A state 100 meter hurdle runner-up Lillian Harden was craving some competition and this weekend she found it. 

Harden is accustomed to facing the best-of-the-best every week, with UIL Class 6A 100mH champion Rylee Hampton in her district and region.

However, up to this point of the season, she had not been challenged. That changed this weekend when she clocked a U.S. No. 2 time of  8.40 in the 60mH. 

Harden entered in the 60m and the 200m to scratch the itch of a competitive race she has been looking for. With that, she was able to qualify for the finals in the 200m.

Since her sophomore year in high school when Harden began to compete in track and field, she developed an affinity for the hurdles and that is what she wanted to measure herself to elite competition in.

2024 Carl Lewis Inv girls 60H Finals

The Carl Lewis Invitational brought the level of competition she was looking for. 

A pair of LSU signees in Makeriah Harris out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Gabriella Cunningham from Grandview, Colorado were going to be the measuring stick for Harden this weekend.

The three elite athletes battled through the preliminary and semi-final rounds with several other hurdlers. But, when the dust settled, it was the three NCAA D1 commits who would race it out for the win in the finals. 

After the prelim round, with all three girls in different heats, Cunningham had the fastest time of 8.50, just ahead of Harden's 8.60 and Harris' 8.75. Cunningham again had he top time out of the semi-finals with a 8.48. Harris and Harden battle each other in the first semi-final heat; Harris would get the advantage over Harden crossing the line in first 8.57, just four-hundredths of a second ahead of second place.

Harden knew she wanted to win the finals. The first two rounds weren't technical masterpieces, "in the semi-final I had hit a few hurdles, I hit my knee and I hit my toe." A more technical sound race would be necessary for her to come out with a win. 

This is the level of competition Harden was looking for and making the adjustments is what D1 athletes have to do and she did, saying "everything had to be perfected and it was a clean race, nothing crazy, and when I heard that time, I was like alright, that is what I needed to do."

Harden would get the win and every adjustment she successfully made would turn out to be exactly what she needed. Her winning time of 8.40 would earn her the second spot in the national rankings -- Florida athlete Aleesa Samuel would earn a U.S. No. 1 the same weekend in Virginia in 8.38.

But Harden was able to edge out Cunningham who turned in another outstanding race and finished in 8.41 and Harris was third in 8.49.

Event 23 Girls 60 Meter Hurdles
 Meet: # 8.43 1/21/2006 April Williams, Dallas Flyers TC
 Name Year School Finals
 1 Lillian Harden 12 Bridgeland 8.40#
 2 Gabriella Cunningham Angel Flight 8.41#
 3 Makeriah Harris 12 Scotlandville 8.49
 4 Dior Williams Buffalo's Run 8.77
 5 Naomi Booker Perform Hurdling 8.78
 6 Laila Payne Track Houston 8.79
 7 Sanaai Hancock Angel Flight 8.83
 8 Layni Kaase CS Sprinters 9.11