This past Saturday, Sophomore Jaelyn Barkley placed 2nd out of 100 girls in the NJAC championship. Now, the Stockton team is heading to NCAA Metro Regionals on November 12th, 2022 in Allentown, PA.
Barkley originally ran cross country to stay in shape, but never thought to prioritize long distance until her coach encouraged her to do so. The young athlete came to Stockton looking for sprinting roles, but coaches saw potential in her long-distance abilities and urged her to run races like the 800m, up to the 2000m. She went from running around 3-5 miles daily to 6-8.5 miles daily to stay competitive in cross country.
“My main goal was mental toughness… I knew my body was in pretty good physical shape, but I tend to get in my head a lot… so my main goal was don’t give up when things get hard,” Barkley said.
Additionally, Barkley added that her pregame ‘rituals’ also help her prepare for races. “The night before I always eat pickles to prevent cramping, get chipotle, [and] always wear the black [sock] on my left and the white one on my right..for all my workouts and the meets,” said Barkley.
The goal of the sophomore’s success is the ability to master her mindset. She mentioned her experience running a 6k race, stating that “it’s hard to run [4 miles] by yourself.. I prefer the huge runs..because there’s always someone faster than you..so you won’t have to worry about.. what time am I trying to run?”
Barkley’s best time was 27:21.9 last year, and 22:53.0 in her race in the NJAC championships this year.
For more information on the championship, check out https://stocktonathletics.com/.