National POY Watch: Tessa Barrett

National POY Watch: Tessa Barrett

Gatorade Player of the Year

National POY Watch: Tessa Barrett


From many, there will be one. And while there’s still no guarantee contending athletes will win their own state at this point, a number of elite performers have made a case for Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.

Tessa Barrett
Senior distance runner, Abington Heights (Clarks Summit, Pa.)

Greatness Present: Barrett can’t do many things most teenagers do. A chronic migraine disease prevents her from shopping at the mall, going to the movies or even attending classes at school, as fluorescent lighting triggers headaches so serious she’s had epileptic-like seizures.

One thing Barrett can do is run—though she doesn’t do that like a normal teen either. The senior sensation became Pennsylvania’s first national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships individual champion, breaking the tape in 17:15.4 to defeat runner-up Hannah Debalsi of Connecticut by a whopping 10 seconds.

That effort capped a brilliant season for Barrett, a home-schooled student who competes for Abington Heights. She also beat Debalsi for the Foot Locker Northeast Regional championships crown and won the Class AAA individual state title with a course-record time of 17:30.

Greatness Past: Barrett attended Scranton Prep for her first two years of high school, before illness forced her to leave. She began to earn national attention during the 2012-13 season, when she placed fourth in the 5,000-meter run at New Balance Indoor Nationals.

She also won the state indoor title in the 3,000, then took second outdoors in the 3,200 at Pennsylvania’s Class AAA championships.

Greatness Future: Barrett has verbally committed to Penn State.

Make no mistake: The Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year races aren’t over, and the National ROY race is now heating up. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Check back for daily updates on the top contenders making their case.


More USA TODAY High School Sports
National POY Watch: Tessa Barrett
I found this story on USA TODAY High School Sports and wanted to share it with you: %link% For more high school stories, stats and videos, visit