Barbara Pierre: An Oak Ridge Pioneer's Journey To The Largest Stages Of Track & Field

(Photo by ImageOfSport)

Barbara Pierre graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 2006 and went onto St. Augustine's University where she graduated in 2010. In 2008, she competed in the Olympic Games in Beiijing. Indoors, Pierre was the USA Indoor Championship runner-up at 60m in 2014, and USA Indoor champion in the same event last week in Portland, Oregon with a personal best of 7.00s., which ties Dafne Schippers of the Netherland as the fastest time in the world this year. We caught up with her to talk about her high school days and her journey to track and field's biggest stages including this weekend's World Youth Indoor Championships. You graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 2006 and were part of those powerhouse Pioneer teams. What do you remember most about your high school days and wearing the green and gold? What made Oak Ridge so powerful back them?

Barbara Pierre: What I remember most about my high school days would have to be Coach Stamper being on me 24/7 making sure I was In class and basically doing what I'm supposed too, oh and boys were a no no, he hated that lol. The green and gold made me feel invincible , I can say all of us felt that way. I wore those colors with pride...We were such a powerful team back then because we were fierce,  we were willing to hurt, to put in the hours and we wanted to win badly. And I also believe is because we were a family, a unit and we pushed each other to be better and we still do till this day.

FLR: From there you went onto St. Augustine in NC. Why the choice to go there out of high school and what did you learn under one of the true teachers of the sport, George Williams?

BP: I made a choice to go to Saint Augustine's University  between coach Tony Scott, Coach Ellis and Coach Stamper guidance they believed it would be a good fit for me  reason being is because a lot  FL runners attended SAU and ended up being great professional runners after they completed school. I really value these coaches opinion. They're my family and have always guide and looked after me. I learned a lot from Coach Williams , training with him has shown me how strong of an athlete I am. His base work is really really tough. You must have a strong and determine mindset to get through his workouts. He's a great coach and he really knows his stuff.

FLR:  Going into Worlds, you'll go up against some stiff competition including Dafne Schippers, who was the 100m runner-up and 200m champion at Worlds (outdoors), and has an identical personal best of 7.00s. What's it going to take to win?

BP: The main key for me is execution, staying focus, staying in my lane and believe that God will take of everything no matter the outcome. 
I don't enter a race thinking of what it's going to take to win or think of winning, of course everybody wants to win, who wouldn't want too. For me I go into a race thinking of the things that need to be done to have a good or great race and that's too execute the phases of my race the way Patrick my coach has shown me to. So time and winning will take care of itself if I do those things.

FLR: There is a week between USAs and Worlds. Do you work on anything specifically in that time frame?

BP: I only work on cleaning my technique, because all the work has already been put in. So I really don't do much between US Trials and Worlds. 

FLR: As a young kid and high school athlete at Oak Ridge High School did you ever envision this success?

BP: I didn't envision success until I started running track in high school and actually falling in love with it. It was then I knew it was something I wanted to take further then just high school. But before that, I knew I was going to be an athlete just didn't know what sport because I wasn't the average girl.  When I was young I would climb trees, race the boys in the neighborhood, doing back flips on the trampoline, playing football with my cousin, and taking tumbling class because I was also a cheerleader. 

FLR:  If you had any advice for kids or high school athletes what would it be?

BP: The advice I would give them is to never give up on the goals and dreams that your trying to reach. Never let someone's words offset the path and blessings that God has for you. You're in control of you and your destiny and what you do with it.

FLR: Lastly, finish this sentence. Barbara Pierre is ________.

BP: Barbara Pierre is goofy, strong, shy at times, and a fighter. 

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