Texas A&M junior Brea Garrett added a national title to her growing résumé last week, winning the NCAA indoor weight throw competition with a mark of 72-8 in her first-ever appearance in the national championships.
The 2011 Martin High School graduate won 5A state titles in the 100 meters and the shot put during her senior year.
It was a difficult week for Garrett, who was informed just days before the competition that her father, Lawrence, had been admitted to the hospital with chest pain.
“It was a bad situation,” said Brea’s mother, Audrey Garrett. “He had pain in his chest and it got to the point where he couldn’t breathe. We found out he had multiple blood clots in his lungs. He was in the hospital for three days, and we were trying not to stress her out by letting her know the seriousness of his condition.”
With her mind on her father, Garrett entered the competition at the Albuquerque Convention Center on emotional overload.
“My dad’s always been so supportive of me,” Garrett said. “I talked to him every day. I always knew how he was doing, his status, if he felt good, if he felt bad. He called me before my meet and gave me a little confidence boost in my ear just to make sure I was focused and he just wanted to make sure I knew he was OK.”
The pep talk must have worked, as Garrett’s best mark came on her first throw. Officials initially ruled that Garrett had fouled, but a video review, prompted by Texas A&M coaches, overturned the ruling.
“They said I stepped out on the front right side of the ring,” Garrett said. “Since they have Eagle Eye [a video timing system for track and field events] it watches where you are in the ring and it saved me. I was so glad human error wasn’t a factor.”
Unable to attend the meet, Lawrence and Audrey watched the statistics update live online. It wasn’t until the fifth round of competition that they realized Brea’s first round mark was eligible.
“We were watching the scores online, hitting refresh like crazy,” Audrey said. “It was so great to see her become a champion, and the way it all played out made it even more exciting in the end.”
Brea’s younger brother, Myles Garrett, who signed with Texas A&M to play football this year, was the first to congratulate her on the win.
“He told me he was proud of me,” said Brea. “To know that he was watching and for him to text me, I really appreciated that. I’m so excited for him to get down [to A&M in the fall]. I’ll be in my senior year and he’ll just be starting his journey. I can’t wait for him to get his chapter started.”
Myles, the No. 4-ranked high school football recruit in the country according to ESPN, may be the talk around the halls at Martin High School, but around the Garrett house, he has still some catching up to do.
“He’s not gonna be the top Garrett on campus just yet,” said Audrey. “Brea’s an All-American now, too.”