Barrett breaks records, vaults to State
Mountie Brittany Barrett has never been scared of heights. In fact, if she could do high school all over again, she would try out gymnastics as well.
Barrett spent her senior year pole vaulting to new heights and new achievements. Tacked onto her list is The Paper’s 2016 Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year. She received the 2015 award as well.
“I don’t really think about being upside down in the air,” Barrett said. “I don’t think I was ever scared.”
She first picked up a pole her freshman year to follow in her brother Dan’s footsteps. Her biggest fear when she first started wasn’t flying through the air, but missing the pit.
“I’ve always watched people go and completely miss the pit and that was my biggest fear as a pole vaulter,” she said.
However, as time progressed, she became a vaulting legend in the Southmont record books. And it all started with the mechanics.
“There’s a lot of stuff, you don’t want to let your hand slip, keep your arm straight, swing your legs, drive your knees, stuff like that,” Barrett explained of her first few months of learning.
She said driving her hips was the main aspect she focused on this year. The work started to pay off at the County meet when she broke her first record. She vaulted to 10’ and broke Mountie Kyra Burton’s meet record.
“Once she got to the County meet, I think she started to feel really comfortable with what she was doing, it was just a matter of her getting some success and confidence with it,” Mountie head track & field coach Desson Hannum said. “Once she had that confidence, it propelled her through the end of the season, where she could set the school record three consecutive weeks.”
Once the County record broke, it was a domino effect. Barrett broke the school record, the Conference record, the Sectional record . . . and the school record two more times.
“Every meet, I would take Walters pen and cross out girls as they miss the three times,” she said. She kept particularly good track during the Regional meet. She had broken the school and Conference record at the SAC meet with a 10’7.75” height. She continued to break her own school record and the Sectional record, vaulting to 10’8” in Zionsville.
“It was a matter of timing, technique and putting it all together,” Mountie pole vault coach Marvin Walters said.
At Regionals, Barrett was tied with Kara Deady from Carmel.
“I even counted how many times they missed because in meets like that that’s what it comes down to,” she said. “When she missed, I was hiding behind Wally and I peeked my eye open and I just started crying.”
On Barrett’s 10’9” vault, she had hit the bar but it landed neatly back on the standards. Walters said they had watched people successfully hit the bar before but it had never happened to Barrett before.
“That was one of those that you put all those hours in and you get a break when it really matters most,” he said.
Barrett’s 10’9” vault remains in the record books at Southmont. She went on to finish the season tied for 21st at State.
The sky was the limit for Barrett in other events as well. She had qualified for Regionals in the long jump the year before and was one spot away from qualifying this year. Her fourth place was preceded by a County championship. She also won a County title in the 300 hurdles and placed third at Conference.
Pole vault outlasted all the events, however.
Walters added, “For her to break that record three straight weeks was just phenomenal.”