“It was really cool. I really couldn’t believe it. It was really exciting,” said Barrett.
Competing on April 26 at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Barrett scored a 9.350 for her beam routine, beating 27 other gymnasts, including future University of Georgia gymnast and all-around champion Beth Roberts of Tift County.
First-year head coach and former UGA gymnast Lauren Raessler said the coaching staff was surprised when Barrett won.
“We didn’t expect her to come away with a title. We didn’t really realize it was a big deal until [it sunk in] later,” said Raessler. “She’s a very hard worker and has been fighting through a back injury, but she didn’t quit and it paid off in the end.”
Doing gymnastics since she was in the second grade, Barrett has been a member of the Cartersville Twisters for almost nine years. Barrett is still competing with the Twisters, which Raessler said is ideal since it gives Barrett extra workouts.
“It’s fun. It’s not like any other sport. There’s always something new you can learn,” said Barrett.
She practices 20 hours a week during the school year and 26 hours a week during the summer.
Barrett also won the 2013 Level 9 USA Gymnastics Georgia State Championship for beam with the Twisters in March.
Barrett has been battling with a lower lumbar strain since February. The night before the state meet, she called Raessler with doubts about competing. In pain, Barrett did not warm up prior to performing her beam routine and said she did not think about the scores, but was more concerned with whether her body could perform.
Barrett competed in all four events at state – bar, beams, floor and vault. She finished eighth all around with a combined score of 35.55.
Winning an individual state title as a freshman, Barrett has accomplished something most high school athletes never get the honor of achieving. With the beam title down, Barrett and Raessler agreed a title for vault is Barrett’s personal goal now.
Though Barrett qualified for state in all four events, there was only one other member of the Cartersville team that also competed that day – rising junior Alecia Price on vault.
With the recognition that Barrett has brought to the program, Raessler said this has given her more drive to get the entire team back to state for the first time since 2007.