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ND Women’s Track and Field: Freshman having major impact on Irish

Laura Coletti | Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It didn’t take long for Kaila Barber to make an impact for the Irish.

The freshman from Middleburg Heights, Ohio, who competes in sprinting and hurdling events, burst onto the scene during Notre Dame’s Blue-Gold Meet, the very first competition of the winter track season. Her impressive first outing included Big East championships qualifying marks in the 40-meter hurdles, the 400-meter race and the long jump. Barber took first in all three events, as well as placing first in the women’s 4×400 meter relay.

Yet for the freshman, the transition from high school to collegiate track and field has almost been seamless.

“I think that the main difference between high school and college track is the amount of running you actually do,” she said. “High school track didn’t have nearly as many repeat practices or lifting days. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make since coming here is pushing through the soreness and continuing to run.”

Barber’s efforts helped her garner the Big East Track and Field Athlete of the Week award for the week of Dec. 6th.

“I was shocked when I found out I was named Big East Athlete of the Week,” she said.

Her success and hard work has not gone unnoticed by teammates, either.

“Kaila’s doing awesome this year,” senior captain Maddie Buttinger said. “We have a lot of freshmen and it’s nice to see her get right in and do really well. She’s a really hard worker and it’s nice to have someone like that as a teammate. She’s got a great work ethic; to have her working hard is good for both practice and meets.”

Barber, whose favorite event is the 400-meter hurdles, acknowledged that a lot of her early success is a function of the support from her coaches and teammates.

“The older teammates really helped with the adjustments needed for college and always supported myself and the rest of the new runners here,” she said. “Coach Turner has been a big help with explaining why we do certain drills and exercises.”

Barber and the rest of the Irish look to continue their success this weekend at the Indiana Relays in Bloomington, Ind.

Contact Laura Coletti at [email protected]