BY DAN STICKRADT
PONTIAC — It’s one thing to set your goals up in the clouds and actually have a chance to reach them. For Oakland Township resident Sara Barron, she is residing on Cloud 9 these days.
The recent Pontiac Notre Dame Prep grad recently put together quite a memorable 12-month period, which was capped by a grand performance at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Greensboro, S.C.
Barron, a middle and long distance standout, earned All-America status in her final high school race after finishing fourth in the 800 meters. She clocked 2:09.25 in extreme heat, but it was good enough for a top-six finish and All-American honors.
“I wasn’t that worried about the time. It would have been nice to go faster, but I was just shooting for a top-six finish,” noted Barron, who is spending part of her summer training at her family’s cottage near Petoskey. “That’s what I’m really happy with. To finish my high school career being an All-American — that’s an incredible accomplishment.”
Also in June at the Midwest Meet of Champions, Barron won the 800 with a career-best 2:09.05 effort, lowering her school record one last time. She also ran on Team Michigan’s winning 1,600 relay (3:50.15).
That’s not all she accomplished in her stellar four-year career in a Fighting Irish uniform.
“It’s been a great time,” recalled Barron. “I have been able to accomplish a lot. I have no regrets.”
Barron’s incredible senior year began in cross country, where she medaled in a variety of invitationals. She was CHSL champion, placed 13th at the Oakland County meet, won the Goodells regional and placed eighth at the Division 2 state finals at Michigan Speedway, setting her new school record at 18:24.2. That was the first time she earned All-State honors in cross country.
That more than carried into an intense winter of training and a fine senior track campaign.
Barron finishes with school records in the 800 meters, 1,600 meters, 3,200 meters, 1,600-meter relay and 3,200-meter relay, plus her aforementioned school mark in cross-country.
She entered high school in 2008-09 and made an impact, lettering in both track and cross country. At the end of her freshman season, she was part of the school’s 3,200 relay that qualified for state and clocked 9:48.0, which is still a school record today.
Since then she has broken and lowered her own school records in a wide variety of events.
“She’s the product of a lot of hard work,” said Notre Dame Prep track coach Megan Thayer. “She worked so hard that it rubbed off on everybody. She’s a great leader and all of the younger girls looked up to her.
“She’s earned everything that she accomplished,” continued Thayer. “Sure, she has some natural ability, but you don’t get to race at the national meets unless you put in the time to get better. She’s had an incredible career at Notre Dame Prep and we’ll miss her for sure.”
This past spring, she put forth multiple notable performances.
She won the 800, 1,600 and 1,600 relay at the CHSL conference meet and won the 800, 1,600, 1,600 relay and 3,200 relay at the Division 2 Bloomfield Hills Lahser regional, leading the Irish to the runner-up spot behind eventual co-state champion Birmingham Detroit Country Day.
At the county meet, she broke the county meet record in the 800 meters with a 2:09.58 clocking, then followed that up by joining Taylor Timko, Sarah LewAllen and Candice Mack on the winning 1,600 relay that shattered the school record in 3:56.73, one of the faster mile relay efforts in the county in some time.
At the D-2 state finals, Barron led Notre Dame Prep to a seventh-place finish, the school’s best-ever finish state since the school changed names in 1994. At the state finals, Barron won the 1,600 in a D-2 state-meet record 4:51.67, came back to defend her 800 meters state title with a 2:13.83 effort, then capped the day by running a leg on the third-place 1,600 relay unit (4:04.53).
With Barron already wining two events and Timko playing in a double-overtime soccer district finals win over Country Day earlier in the day, the Irish were far off their county effort of 3:56.
“Our legs were tired,” recalled Barron. “Taylor had played that long soccer game and had won two fast races already. We didn’t go under four minutes again, but it was still All-State. We still had a great day finishing in the top 10.”
Barron earned the CHSL Female Athlete of the Year award for 2011-12. She was also named the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award for Michigan last fall against some 1,023 Michigan applicants. Only one male and one female from each state earned the award, based on athletics and academics ability.
Barron posted a 30 out of a possible 32 on her ACT exam last year and posted a stellar 4.1 GPA in high school. Now, she has signed with Division I Vanderbilt out of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and is ready for her next challenge.
“When I finished my last race at the New Balance Nationals, I was ready for a break,” she laughed. “I was pretty tired. But I will be ready for college. I am looking forward to it.
“I really liked Vanderbilt, the other runners and the coaches. I think everything clicked for me,” said Barron, who will major in Phycology. “I wasn’t going to school just for running. I had to have a great balance for academics and running. Vanderbilt seemed like the best fit for me.”
Barron will depart for a running camp with her new Vanderbilt teammates Aug.12, then start her college courses on Aug.22. But not before she’s made quite a mark on the high school scene.
“I don’t think I could have ever dreamed everything that’s happened to me,” she laughed.
Now, she can enjoy it all on Cloud 9.
To submit information to www.northoaklandsports.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To advertise, e-mail email@example.com . Follow us on Twitter @LocalSportsFans and more than a dozen other social media networks.
FOR MORE TRACK COVERAGE: http://northoaklandsports.com/?s=track&x=14&y=11
Have photos or video of this event that you wish to share? E-mail pertinent information to www.northoaklandsports.com Senior Editor Dan Stickradt at firstname.lastname@example.org or e-mail email@example.com
Category: BWW Athlete of the Week, Campus Clips, Colleges / Other, Featured Articles, High School, High School (M-Z), Most Recently Updated Stories, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, Prep Wraps, Top Stories, Uncategorized