Liberty County High School runner Khaleed Barrett took the gold medal at the 2013 National State Games held in Hershey Penn., July 31-Aug. 4.
Barrett ran first in the 1500-meter run for the boys division, ages 17-18. He finished the race in 4:29.01.
It was Barrett’s second gold medal, after placing first in the 1500 at the 2013 Georgia Games in July when he hit a personal best time of 4:28.94.
Panther speed coach Nathan Mims reported the win was an emotional moment for the class of 2014 track star.
“First, I was relieved because the race was finally finished,” Barrett said. “I was amazed, secondly, and it took me a minute to realize what I had actually accomplished. Lastly, I was very happy when the reality of the victory sank in, which in turn made me very thankful.”
Barrett described the race’s final moments,
“I was already in the lead (I had taken over after the second lap), but I knew that I would have to push myself in order to maintain that lead. I was very tired and breathing heavily, so I knew making it through that final lap was going to be tough.”
He said the thought of winning a national championship pushed him.
“I knew I had to keep going. I was pretty nervous and very tired, but I was ready to put all of the hard work from the summer into action, and reap the rewards.”
Barrett said he was thankful first and foremost to God and then his family.
“I had a lot of support from my family and friends,” Barrett said. “I also had great coaching and training which has given me a ton of determination and has heightened my motivation. I have come so far since last season.”
Barrett is entering his senior year and said his focus will be to maintain his grades.
“Still, though, amidst the intense focus that I have put into my studies I am training hard, preparing myself for my school’s cross country season,” the runner said. “After cross country, I will focus on preparing for a few indoor track meets, as well as outdoor competitions. This year, one of my ultimate goals is to not just make good things happen for me but also to work hard to make good things happen for my team.”
His coach praised Barret. “Khaleed is a very hard working student athlete and his ceiling is far from being reached,” Mims said.