CHESAPEAKE, VA (WTKR)- Leroy Harper, Jr. was up past his bedtime on Sunday night, but it was worth it.
Harper, Grassfield High School's Director of Track & Field, was watching his former student-athlete, Grant Holloway, win a World Championship in the 110-meter hurdles.
"Long day and a late night, but definitely worth staying up," he smiled on Monday. "Time zones are always funny and crazy, but definitely was an enjoyable moment being able to stay up and watch that."
Holloway won his second straight World Championship, crossing the finish line first with a winning time of 13.03 seconds. He outdistanced fellow American Trey Cunningham by 0.05 seconds, grabbing a victory at the first track and field World Championships held on American soil at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field. He adds to his 2019 World Championship gold medal as well as an Olympic silver he claimed last summer in Tokyo.
"Winning never gets old," Harper noted. "The process of getting to the win and some of the things we've got to go through, those things get old, but Grant's always been able to be at the top a lot."
What's helped take him to the top is a mindset and work ethic that Harper knows well. He's seen it first hand during the track star's time in a Grizzlies uniform and now he's seeing the same focus pay off at the sport's highest level.
"Always a mindset and a preparation and that dedication to hard work no matter what," Harper recalled of Holloway's time at Grassfield. "He was always the first one there, always going to put in the work, always doing exactly what you need him to do, what you want him to do. Just one of those kids that you never have to worry about. You're going to get his A game every time he steps on the track."
Harper says he and his former athlete have not lost touch, noting the two still communicate about once every week and a half. The Grassfield head coach is always happy to offer advice to Holloway, even at this point in his career. The champ is also a great role model for Harper's current group of Grizzlies.
"It's great to hear about a guy like Grant because he's always down to earth when he comes back, visits with the kids," said the head coach. "He's always at their level and can relate to them a lot better than some of the people that come around that kind of change how they are."
Holloway has run the 110-meter hurdles in 12.81 seconds, the second-fastest time ever run and just 0.01 seconds off the World Record. Harper thinks that the record and an Olympic gold medal are well within his reach.
"He wanted to be the best and he wants to be the best hurdler to ever come through," he pointed out. "The goal is definitely not done."
Holloway does hold one World Record, running the 60-meter hurdles in 7.29 seconds indoors back in February of 2021.