Elite Athlete Spotlight - Brigetta Barrett
Fans stood to their feet. Muffled noises turned to silence. All eyes were fixed on the 6-foot senior from the University of Arizona standing alone in the infield. She knew what to do. This was not her first pressure packed moment.
The 22-year-old high-jumper stood relaxed, but nervous. “Deep breath,” she said to herself. “Let them have it. They are going to love you.”
Right before she started, she remembered the coaching she received over the years: take a deep breath and relax. With an anxious crowd waiting, she delivered. Her teammates were in awe.
Barrett is making the most of her four years of college at the University of Arizona both on and off the track. She is a four-time NCAA Indoor All-American, a four-time NCAA Outdoor All-American, three-time NCAA Indoor Champion, and a three-time NCAA Outdoor Champion. She has directed plays, performed the national anthem and written poetry.
Her success comes as no surprise. She clears any bars that stands between her and where she wants to be. She moved by herself from Westchester County, N.Y. to Duncanville, Texas while in high school. Barrett made the move to surround herself with better competition, and to push herself to achieve move. This decision paid huge dividends.
Four years after uprooting her life, Barrett found herself at the University of Arizona under the direction of Assistant Track and Field Coach Sheldon Blockburger who is responsible for jumps and combined events. Under Blockburger’s direction, Barrett is constantly improving. She weight trains, conditions and monitors her diet to ensure she stays in the best shape possible.
“Because my body is stronger and faster, and because I have come off an entire indoor season of working on technique, my body is like a better version of me,” said Barrett. “I have to be able to use that body.
Barrett’s ability in the high jump has granted her entrance to places all over the world. Her first major meet overseas occurred after her sophomore year. She competed in the 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China where she won gold. That was just a warm-up.
The next summer in front of a packed Olympic Stadium, she accomplished a personal best of 2.03m/6-8 to win a silver medal. The last time an American woman medaled in the high jump was in 1988 - two years before Barrett was born.
So weeks after graduating as a theater arts major, Barrett stood along on the infield of Hayward field, closed her eyes and gave it her all.
“Oh, say can you see,” Barrett sang.
Her angelic voice brought the stadium speakers to life. Spectators in the crowd mouthed the words along with her. Her strong and rich voice, inspired by her mother, warmed the stadium audience to the days’ competition.
When she finished, her bright smile took over her face. She knew she sounded amazing. The crowd erupted. After dazzling the crowd with her vocals, she did the same with her performance in the high jump. She captured her third NCAA outdoor championship title.