JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Laurie Barton became the second-fastest woman in Clemson history for 1,500 meters Thursday evening after crossing the line in 4:14.20 during the first day of competition at the UNF Invitational. The all-time performance from Barton was her fourth top 2 mark at Clemson in 2021, as the middle-distance star currently holds the school record in the women’s 800m and 1,000m and is second in the record books for the outdoor 800m and 1,500m.
“As I’ve said [before], she [Laurie] is an exceptional student-athlete,” said Mark Elliott, Clemson’s Director of Track & Field. “It’s very rare that you can have someone in the top 2 in so many events… it’s just amazing and fun to watch. She ran great today!”
Tina Krebs previously occupied the second position on Clemson’s all-time list for the metric mile after running 4:15.23 during the 1985 season. Following her performance on Thursday, Barton has become just the fourth woman in NCAA Div. I to go sub-2:02 for 800m and sub-4:15 for 1,500m during the same outdoor campaign since the beginning of the 2017 season. Earlier in the week, Barton was named the ACC’s Women’s Track Performer of the Week following her 2:01.57 performance for 800m during UCF’s Knights Invite.
Barton crossed the line in second overall on Thursday and was the top collegiate finisher in the field. Entering the meet, Barton was the No. 4 all-time performer at Clemson after her then-personal-best performance of 4:18.56 at the FSU Relays. Barton’s performance in Jacksonville Thursday evening was only the fifth time in her collegiate career in which she had contested the event.
“She was in the front for 99% of the race, and we had a pace that we wanted her to be on,” added Elliott. “She was on pace through the first lap, but she’s still learning how to run the 1,500, and so on the second lap, she fell off, which is very easy to do. But, she got right back on it when she heard my voice.”
As one of the best mid-distance talents in the nation, Barton has already punched her ticket to this year’s U.S. Olympic Trials after having run 2:01.99 during the 2021 ACC Indoor Championships. The qualifying standard for the women’s 800m at the trials is set at 2:02.50.
Clemson’s women’s 4x400m relay will take to the track in Jacksonville tomorrow at 4:20 p.m. in search of another season’s best after running 3:37.02 last weekend in Orlando.
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