NORMAN — Defending Class 6A cross country state champion Ben Barrett continues to elevate his expectations.
The Norman North senior was all about winning a state title this time a year ago. After doing so, he shifted his focused to qualifying for the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships in San Diego. Again, mission accomplished.
Now with the experience of competing on the national stage, Barrett is eyeing a repeat of last season’s success with a more confident approach.
“Primarily I want to make sure I avoid injuries and stay healthy overall,” Barrett said. “From a competition standpoint, I want to win state and go back to the Foot Locker Championships.
“I had never really done anything on a national level like I did last year and I gained a lot of experience from that. I was a little shocked by it all last year, but if I go back this year it’ll be all business. Things just sort of happened for me and now I have higher expectations for myself.”
The strong showing on a national level, he finished 29th at the Foot Locker event, has several schools showing interest in Barrett’s ability.
He lists Iowa State, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Syracuse, and Texas as his top schools that have expressed interest with none being currently preferred over the others. He will begin taking official visits next week and says he’s definitely planning on making trips to Iowa State, Syracuse, and North Carolina State.
“I hadn’t had much (recruiting) attention at this point last year,” Barrett said. “Getting those national results and my coaches helping get my name out there has been huge in that process.”
Norman North coach Jonathan Koscinski says Barrett is the type of athlete his other runners gravitate toward and strive to be like.
“He’s really unlike anyone I’ve ever seen,” Koscinski said. “He’s a runner first and everything else second, besides his family of course. Whenever I’ve got practices in the morning, he’s always there. We had a 5 a.m. practice because of the heat, and he’s one of the few people that showed up that early. That’s just one example. He does everything that you could ask a runner to do.”