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Running Is In The Blood

Nov. 19, 2009

by Jon Cooper, Contributing Editor

ATLANTA –There was never much doubt as to which path Patrick Barron was going to choose when it came to collegiate sports.

His great, great uncle David “Red” Barron competed in four sports, including track and field, at Georgia Tech (Class of ’22), and was inducted into its Sports Hall of Fame as a football player in 1959. His father, Claude, ran cross country and track at Navy, and his brother, Claude “Jes,” ran cross country and track at Army.

Patrick recently completed his freshman season on The Flats, and, according to Tech cross country coach Alan Drosky, not only fits the Barron family mold, one day he’s actually going to break it.

“We’ve already set a goal and he’s going to be the fastest in the family by the time he’s done,” said Drosky. “For Patrick to come in as a freshman and make our top seven, make our top eight, has been an exceptional season for him.”

“It’s gone better than expected, really,” said Barron. “I didn’t expect to make a big impact this year, but things changed.”

Barron, the indoor and outdoor champion in both 1,600 and 3,200 meters at Woodson High School in Fairfax, Va., quickly adapted to collegiate running and, thanks in part to his teammates, immediately felt at home in Atlanta.

“The top guys, the varsity, they just took me under their wing and helped me through,” he said.

His talent did the rest, as the Annandale, Va., native finished in Tech’s top five on three occasions, was sixth (78th overall) in the ACC Championships and in the NCAA South Regionals, run on Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., finished third on the team (76th overall). Only seniors Greg Johnson and Matt Hickey were faster for the Jackets, who finished 11th overall.

Barron ran a solid 32:58.08 in the NCAAs, which was impressive as the race was 10K, not the 8K, that he’d run in every other race during the season.

Drosky was impressed by Barron’s ability to adapt to the extra distance all season long.

“To go from a 5K cross-country in high school to an 8K, basically from three-mile to five-mile races, that’s a pretty huge adjustment,” said the coach. “So adjusting to that, adjusting to the increased level of training that you need to run at that increased distance and also adjusting to Georgia Tech academics, he’s working hard. He’s done a great job.”

Barron said that the academic portion was actually an easier adjustment to make than one might think.

“It’s not bad,” said the undecided engineering major, who listed the engineering program, cross country and track programs and family history as his reasons for choosing to attend Tech. “I’ve been doing this for years now so it’s just become a habit, getting the work in, getting the running in, getting the work done.”

He knows there’s a lot more work to do, but he has plenty of incentive, specifically beating the other members of his family. He knows what he needs to beat and can recite his father’s top times (4:08 mile indoors, 14:09 in the 5K outdoors).

“That’s actually one of my goals,” he said. “I hope that day comes.”

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