AKRON, Ohio – University of Akron freshman pole vaulter Shawn Barber has been named the No. 2 High School Track & Field Athlete of the Year for 2012 by Track & Field News.
Barber, who shattered the national high school pole vault record that had stood for 13 years with a jump of 18-03.50 at the AAU Junior Olympics last August, received more first-place votes (eight of 18) than any athlete but finished just two points behind Tyreek Hill, a sprinter from Douglas, Ga., who received seven first-place votes, in the overall point system.
In all, Barber finished with 178 points while Hill, who missed the national record in the 200-meters by just 0.01, earned the top spot with 180.
The two-point differential represented the smallest margin of victory for the esteemed publication's Athlete of the Year award in 34 years. Track & Field News has presented the High School Athlete of the Year award each year since 1947.
Before breaking the national pole vault record, Barber, who has dual citizenship, finished third at the World Junior Track and Field Championships in Barcelona, Spain, in July with a jump of 18-02.50 as a member of the Canadian national team. During the indoor season, he cleared 17-06.50 at the Texas A&M Indoor Classic in January, surpassing his previous personal record by a foot and earning a No. 2 ranking all-time on the national indoor list.
Barber's father, George was a pole vaulter for the Canadian National Team and competed collegiately at UTEP.
The 2013 Akron Track & Field season will get started with the program's first indoor meet at Eastern Michigan on January 11th. Barber will be joining a men's program that completed a sweep of the Mid-American Conference Indoor and Outdoor team titles for the second straight year in 2012.
Click to see Shawn Barber clearing 18'3.5" at the AAU National Meet 2012