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TIMES-TRIBUNE FILE Abington Heights senior Tessa Barrett in 2012 Cliff Robbins Invitational.

Tessa Barrett concluded her high school distance running career as a record-setter and national champion.

Now, she is a Hall of Famer.

The former Abington Heights star, who went on to compete at Penn State and Providence College, was elected to the Pennsylvania High School Track and Field Hall of Fame. Her induction is March 1 at the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association State Meet at Penn State University.

“I am so very honored to be inducted into this Hall of Fame,” Barrett said. “I remember going into every state meet in high school what great competition there was and it’s such a cool thing to be included among so many of the outstanding runners in the history of this state.”

During her high school career, Barrett earned a state championship in cross country where she established a PIAA Class 3A record with a time of 17 minutes, 30 seconds at the 3.1-mile course in Hershey. That catapulted her to first-place finishes at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional Championships and the Foot Locker National Championship race in 17:15.4 during a remarkable 2013 season.

One of the most distinguished distance runners in high school track and field in the state and nationally, Barrett earned two PTFCA state championships at 3,000 meters. As a junior, she set a meet record with a time of 9:47.73 and in her senior year struck gold by improving that mark to 9:36.45.

Also in her senior year, Barrett had a remarkable two-race performance at the New Balance National Indoor Championships. She won the 5,000-meter race in 16:11.85 to establish a national record and followed up with a title in the two-mile run with a Pennsylvania record of 10:08.05.

In 2013 and 2014, Barrett earned The Times-Tribune Female Athlete of the Year award. She also owns the meet record in the 1,600 with a time of 4:55.63 at the Robert Spagna Championships and a record of 10:32.78 in the 3,200 at the District 2 Class 3A Championships.

“I think looking back, it was an incredible time,” said Barrett, 23, who works for Merrill Lynch in the Washington, DC area. “I worked really hard for it. And I think, running is one of those sports where the more you put in, the more you get out of it. It was great to see all of the work I did really pay off.

“Running really prepared me for life. As a working adult, the more you put in, the more you get out of it. So doing that hard work taught me a lot.”

In the press release it states, Barrett is being enshrined in the Hall of Fame which was established in 1995 to honor the elite individuals in the state’s distinguished track and field history.

A selection committee consisting of more than 30 coaches, officials and journalists collects and reviews information about individuals who have been nominated.

Further research is conducted, and a new ballot is formed each summer. Voting by the selection committee takes place in the fall, and the newly elected members are inducted at the Indoor State Championship Meet.

Each year, six to 12 athletes, one coach, one contributor and one distinguished alumnus are inducted. Athletes become eligible for nomination five years after their high school graduation.

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