Erika Barrett has provided a strong presence for the Keller Timber Creek cross country team this season, and coach Dan Strong said her contribution goes beyond results.
Barrett finished third overall at the Falcon Fast Invitational (19:08.68) two weeks ago for Timber Creek and was the second-fastest runner for the Lady Falcons last week with a time of 19:43.70 at the Carroll Dragon XC Classic.
Strong said that Barrett provides a sense of control that really seems to rub off on her teammates.
“Erika brings a calm demeanor and an objective mindset, which helps the team stay even-keel,” Strong said.
Barrett said that she feels Timber Creek is in good shape this season and has been impressed with the efforts she has seen, particularly from her less experienced teammates.
“I think that the team is doing amazing this year considering how young it is,” Barrett said. “In the past two years a lot of our fast varsity runners have graduated, but our underclassmen are stepping up to fill in those places. We’ve been practicing since June, and I think our success is attributed to the hard work we put in all summer.”
Barrett said she comes from a family of distance runners, which she believes has been of benefit to her.
“Even though I’m a sophomore, I feel like I bring experience to the team because I’ve had two siblings run for Timber Creek before me and they’ve set a great example,” Barrett said. “I try to keep my teammates positive because I know how easy it can be to give in to negativity.”
Barrett is a member of her school’s environmental sustainability club called Earth Warriors, where students “work to make the world a cleaner and better place,” and takes pre-AP and AP classes.
The sophomore said she works hard year-round to improve her time, but said that she credits something even more than that for the success she has enjoyed.
“A major part of why I’m successful is because of my amazing parents,” Barrett said. “They are always supportive no matter how my race is, and they encourage me to try my hardest. My whole family is active, so growing up running just seemed like a normal part of life to me. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without their support.”
Strong said that his objectives for Barrett this season are pretty standard for his team.
“My goals for Erika are the same they are for all the kids,” Strong said. “I want her to own her training, goals and expectations of herself. I want her to keep her focus on what she is doing, and know that if she does her best, success will follow.”