Barbara Lee Ball won her third consecutive Class A/AA Cross Country State Championship on Saturday, November 3, at Percy Warner Park’s Steeplechase Course in Nashville Tennessee. Ball completed the 5-kilmometer course in 19:09.42, more than a minute faster than her nearest competitor.
Ball, a senior who has committed to run at Lipscomb University, has placed in the state meet every year since her eighth grade year. As an eighth grader, Ball placed third in in TSSAA Class A/AA Cross Country State Championship. As a freshman, she placed second and as a sophomore, junior and senior, she won the state championship.
“It’s really hard to imagine, I started dreaming of winning state when I was in eighth grade and thought maybe it was possible to win, “ said Ball.
Ball has had a tremendous high school running career, each of her three state championship times have been faster than the last. As a sophomore, Barbara Lee ran a 19:31, as a junior, a 19:21 and as a senior, a 19:09. Her fastest time ever for a 5K is an 18:04. Ball says she is looking forward to running at Lipscomb University because “they incorporate faith in their program; I know I have none of it without God.”
“To say that I will miss this phenomenal runner would be a huge understatement. I have been watching Barbara run since she was a little elementary student. She used to run on the outside track while I coached her older brother in Middle School Cross Country. I knew then that she was something special but I had no idea what was in store for the Cross Country program. She has talent, skill and determination; the fact that she also has a great attitude, an encouraging, servant heart, and an evident love of God is just icing on the cake. I know she will be successful wherever she goes and I'm thrilled I will be able to keep up with her running career since she will just be across campus next year,” said Lipscomb Academy Head Cross Country Coach, Albert Thweatt.
With the state meet behind her, Ball has set her sights on the next challenge: Nike Southeast Regionals in Cary, North Carolina. Ball will run as an individual and the top 5 high school runners will qualify for Nationals at the Nike Campus in Oregon.