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By Alyssa Palfey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Redshirt sophomore Tessa Barrett of Waverly, Pa., was recently named USTFCCCA DI National Athlete of the week and Big Ten cross country Co-Athlete of the Week.
Barrett earned these honors after winning and breaking the meet record at Penn State's annual Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational on Sept. 10th. Barrett broke the 16-year-old meet record, formerly held by Michigan's Katie Jazwinski, by more than 20 seconds.
Barrett also competed in the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational as a redshirt freshman in September 2015, where she placed sixth overall, placing 5 spots higher this year as she won the invitational. Her time of 20:31 this year was over a minute faster than what she ran in 2015 at this meet (21:43). Barrett has shown great improvement since last year and continues to show improvement as the season goes on.
Winning these great honors of USTFCCCA National Athlete of the week and Big Ten cross country Co-Athlete of the week took Barrett by surprise.
"I was surprised and humbled to have been named the USTFCCCA Athlete of the Week," said Barrett. "Across the country, there were many great performances that weekend, so I feel very honored and grateful to have received that recognition."
Along with the USTFCCCA DI National Athlete recognition, Barrett also earned the honor of Big Ten cross country Co-Athlete of the Week.
Barrett's Big Ten honor is the first Penn State runner to earn it since her teammate, Tori Gerlach, won it in 2015 after the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational.
"I was excited to be named Big Ten Co-Athlete of the week because I remember when my teammate, Tori Gerlach, was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Week last year as a senior and how inspired I was by that accomplishment," said Barrett.
Barrett was named Big Ten Co-Athlete of the Week with senior, Erin Finn of Michigan.
"Being named co-athlete of the week with Erin Finn of Michigan was also really cool," said Barrett. "Erin is an incredible athlete who I have always looked up to."
Barrett placed 12th this past weekend at the 31st Annual Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, MN, where the Penn State women's team took 3rd out of 34 teams. The Roy Griak Invitational is one of the largest meets in the country.
Barrett believes winning these honors will continue to motivate her for the remainder of the season.
"Receiving these accolades has been humbling, and it definitely keeps me motivated to continue training hard," said Barrett. "We still have a long way to go until championship season, and I hope that individually I can keep improving as the season progresses." Cross Country and Track & Field head coach, John Gondak, believe Barrett's hard work and dedication to the sport, helped her win these honors.
"Tessa is very passionate about her running," said Gondak. "She comes to practice every day with a purpose and that shows in her results."
Gondak also believes that her hard work and dedication that won her these honors will help inspire the rest of the team.
"I think winning awards like that, and winning honors like that, shows the rest of the program that if you come to practice and you put in the work, and you're passionate about what you do, you can be very successful in this sport," said Gondak. "Our sport is about putting in the conditioning and putting in the work so that you have a great mindset when it comes to race day and you're ready to go, and Tessa is very good at doing that."