A self-described naturally gifted runner who spent the majority of her life considering the sport just a hobby, Texas A&M senior distance runner Lauryn Barrientos turned the competition into a career in Aggieland.
It was not until her junior year of high school that Barrientos realized her talent as a long distance runner could continue at a Division I level.
That year, she began to find success in the sport. Barrientos placed second in the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter races at the 2016 state 5A meet and was a silver medalist at the 5A state cross country meet. She also won a Region II gold in her senior season.
“The thing about running is that you run the times and that the clock doesn’t lie, which is what I really liked about the sport,” Barrientos said.
It was after her successful junior season that Barrientos began to receive offers from colleges across Texas.
After visiting several of those schools, Barrientos was still unsure of where she wanted to pursue her athletic career. However, in October of her senior year, Barrientos received a phone call from her dream school: A&M.
“As soon as I visited the campus, I just knew this was for me,” Barrientos said. “Everyone throughout my recruiting process told me that once I found the right school, I would just know it was the one. That is exactly how I felt about Texas A&M.”
During the 2019-2020 cross country season, Barrientos ran a season-best mile time of 5:16.25 at the Charlie Thomas Invitational and placed fifth in the 3,000-meter (10:40.83) at the Texas A&M Invitational.
While balancing her life as a student athlete, Barrientos said she believes her faith in God is what really kept her grounded and motivated during her college career. She said during her freshman year of college, she focused solely on school and athletics.
“I felt even more drained during that time and when I got involved in the ministry, Chi Alpha, during my sophomore year, it really helped me,” Barrientos said. “Adding this layer to my college schedule brought me even more joy and it was something that I truly needed.”
In May, Barrientos earned a degree in Marketing and has recently accepted a full-time job as a district sales leader with Frito-Lay.
She said her time as a competitive runner has taught her several life lessons that she will carry with her to her next step.
“Whenever you set a goal in running and in life, whatever you put into it is what you will get out of it,” Barrientos said. “You reap what you sow, and I think that is what I have learned the most throughout my athletic career.”