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By David Monti
(c) 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

November 24, 2009

After finishing an unthinkable 163rd at yesterday's NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind., Jenny Barringer was still looking for answers.  The University of Colorado senior, the pre-race favorite for victory, collapsed in the 4th kilometer while leading the race with Florida State's Susan Kuijken.

"I definitely remember her (Kuijken) on my shoulder and then all of a sudden going light-headed and thinking 'I don't know how to run anymore,'" Barringer told CuBuffs.com.  "I just lost my head and didn't feel good and then next thing I knew I was on the ground thinking, 'Is this really happening to me?  Is this a race?'  I think I was just a little delirious."

Barringer, 23, finished fifth in last summer's IAAF World Championships in the 3000m steeplechase, setting an American record of 9:12.50.  That performance capped a terrific 2009 season where she also ran 3:59.90 for 1500m and won both the NCAA and USA open steeplechase titles.  Barringer had agreed to stay at Colorado for the 2009 fall cross country season so she could help her teammates win a national title.  Although they only finished 20th with 458 points, Barringer was proud that she finished the race in support of the team.

"I found my way through though," she continued, "and I remember thinking that I was going to score for the team.  That is what I came here to do.  I tried to fight to keep my mind awake and fight for the best place that I could.  I really believe that my character spoke today by finishing."

It is no secret that Barringer is the most sought after NCAA distance runner by both shoe companies and athlete agents, alike.  Now that her NCAA eligibility is exhausted, the sport's observers are waiting to see with whom --and where-- she ends up.  Top steeplechasers are particularly valuable to shoe companies because they can compete on all three surfaces (track, road and cross country), indoors and outdoors, and can usually race successfully from 1500m to 10 km.



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