Hopkins County athletes making collegiate names for themselves
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

May 24, 2005 - Three Hopkins County athletes are making names for themselves in Texas colleges, including one who won a national track championship and another who was an All-Conference pitcher on a championship team.

Sara Barrett, a Sulphur Springs freshman at Dallas Baptist University, finally decided late in 2004 that she would try out for the track team at the college after much prodding by the track coach.

He knew what he was doing.

Barrett won the high jump at the Outdoor Track and Field National Championships of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) recently.

Barrett cleared 5 feet, 5 inches to claim the title - the fourth time this season she has won a meet. She also placed first at the Cap Shelton Relays at Howard Payne, the Hawthorne Relays at Texas A&M-Commerce, and the Tarleton State meet.

A 2004 graduate of SSHS, she won the Fighting Heart that year along with being named the MVP in track.

Barrett was a three-time regional qualifier in the high jump in high school, clearing 5-8 at the 2004 district meet, which tied her for the meet record.

Chase Tarrant, a 2003 graduate of Como-Pickton High School, is another athlete who finally settled in on one sport, and it has paid off for him as well.

A multi-sport star coming out of high school, Tarrant was a red-shirt football player for Texas A&M-Commerce as a freshman, but when the college got a new football coach, Tarrant rethought his options. He visited the University of Texas at Tyler, inquiring about playing basketball, but finally ended up on the baseball team.

His sophomore season concluded this year as a First Team All-Conference selection as a relief pitcher for the Patriots who play in the Division III American Southwest Conference.

The 6-5 southpaw converted seven saves, which was second overall in the conference. He made 18 relief appearances and finished the season with a 2.10 ERA. Tarrant struck out 25 batters in 25 2/3 innings. He also fired the last pitch of the Patriots' championship-clinching game with a strikeout against LeTourneau.

Because the Patriots are in the second year of a four-year provisional period, they are prohibited from participating in any NCAA-sanctioned postseason event, so they did not get to represent the conference in the playoffs despite a record of 32-8 overall and 18-6 in conference.

Melissa McSheffery, an SSHS freshman at St. Edward's University, never wavered in her decision to play softball at the Austin college.

Following a freshman season in which she started 57 of the team's 58 games, McSheffery finished in the top five on the team in virtually every offensive category.

She was second on the team with two home runs, third on the team with seven doubles, fourth with 15 runs and 20 RBI, and fifth in batting average (.240), hits (35), triples (1), and bases-on-balls (9).

The Hilltoppers went 27-31 this season.

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