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Long day, illness can't keep D-B’s Barrett from being there for his team

STEVE WILMOTH, TriCitiesSports.com • May 14, 2017 at 4:45 PM

KNOXVILLE — Dobyns-Bennett’s Bryce Barrett certainly would have been excused had he excused himself from the Tribe’s 4x400-meter relay team at Saturday’s TSSAA Class AAA East Sectional track and field championships at Hardin Valley Academy.

The three-time state champion and defending state 400-meter champion had fought an illness all week that required three intravenous antibiotic treatments, yet he somehow had already logged a third-place finish in the 100 meters (11.455) and wins in the 200 (22.56) and 400 (49.39).

“If this were any other meet, Bryce would not have run today,” said D-B coach Bob Bingham. “He’s been that sick.”

But with state qualifying positions on the line, the Nebraska signee was there to compete and cement his spot in Murfreesboro.

“Having been sick didn’t really change my strategy,” Barrett said. “I still wanted to win everything, but I had been sick and everybody down here is fast. I’m happy I qualified in those three events, but I wish my time had been a little quicker so I would have a better seeding at state but, honestly, I’m surprised I did as well as I did.”

It would have been no surprise had Barrett called it a day — except close friend Jordan Murray was also on the 4x400 team and, for a second straight year, had just missed out on a state berth in the 300 hurdles, finishing an agonizing fifth.

“Jordan ran his fast time ever, but just came up short,” Barrett said. “I really wanted to get him down to state. He’s a solid guy and one of the hardest working guys on the team.”

“Bryce told me ‘I’m going to run the 4x400 cause we are going to get Murray down there,’ ” Bingham said.

The Indians and Hardin Valley were neck and neck on that final race of the day when Barrett and the Hawks’ Wellington Wright took the baton. Barrett had already edged Wright, the stadium record holder in the 400, in that event earlier in the day.

Surging over the final 150 meters, Barrett gave D-B a scintillating win. The Indians finished in 3:23.40, Hardin Valley in 3:23.45.

“I knew Wellington went out fast and kind of got out on me the first 250, so I just kind of let him go and tucked it right behind him and just pushed at the end and ended up edging him out,” Barrett said.

The relay win also clinched the overall boys team section title for D-B.

“This, to me, this the best thing Bryce has ever done,” Bingham said. “The 200, 400 and 4x400 were just sheer guts. And it shows the beauty of what we do. You see kids like that and relationships they build and have. It’s pretty special.”

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