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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A face on a banner

Cody Franklin — THE BATTALION
Brea Garrett winds up for weight throw
Cody Franklin — THE BATTALION Brea Garrett winds up for weight throw

Brea Garrett first came to Texas A&M on a recruiting visit. It was a standard trip, with one exception — she wasn’t the target of the Aggies’ affection that day. She was only 12 at the time, tagging along with her older brother, a highly sought-after basketball prospect.
Her brother wound up choosing Boston College over A&M, but the Aggies didn’t walk away empty handed. They hooked a big recruit that day. They just didn’t know it yet.
“I remember being asleep when we pulled up and opening my eyes to see Kyle Field,” Garrett said. “Immediately I thought to myself, ‘This place is awesome.’ I was pretty young at the time and I don’t know what it was, but something about this place resonated in my soul. I was always drawn to Texas A&M. I just knew it was where I wanted to be.”
Garrett’s stellar high school athletic career soon made that interest mutual. Garrett had her hand in just about everything at Martin High School in Arlington, Texas. She won three individual state championships in track for 5A Martin — two in the shot put and another in the 100-meter hurdles. She set the school records for both events and also competed in the long jump, where she set a personal best mark of 19 feet, 3 inches.
Off the track, she lettered in basketball, cheer and gymnastics and even dabbled in tennis on the side for fun. All of this grabbed the attention of Texas A&M and it wasn’t long before Garrett found herself on her own recruiting visit, standing in front of the wall displaying A&M’s school record holders.
“[Assistant track coach] Vince Anderson walked me in and said, ‘You’re going to be on this board someday,’” Garrett said. “I laughed at him. I knew I was pretty good, but things don’t happen just because someone tells you that they will. I just laughed it off.”
That was over four years ago. Anderson’s divination has since come to fruition and Brea Garrett’s likeness now sits inside Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium on a banner next to her school record mark of 74 feet, 4.5 inches in the weight toss.
“Seeing my face up there was a real coming of age moment for me,” Garrett said. “When you start to fulfill your destiny and accomplish what people have laid out for you, that’s when you start to realize that maybe they weren’t just saying those things. They really believed them. When I saw my face up there, I burst into tears. It really reaffirmed to me that I am more than I think I am.”
To Garrett, the banner represents more than just a record. It represents her entire college journey. It reminds her of how far she’s come and how much farther she can go. The Brea Garrett of today is very different than the one who started her career here four years ago, and she’ll be the first one to say it.
“My attitude has changed so much since I got here,” Garrett said. “I used to be very standoffish and protective of myself because I didn’t surround myself with the best people in the past. When my attitude changed, it completely changed the way I approach everything I do — athletically and in my personal life. When you’re a child, you act like a child, you think like a child and you do childish things. In college, no one’s there to wait at your beck and call and you have to figure it out for yourself. You have to better yourself and change the way you handle people.”
Garrett’s transformation has not been lost on those around her. Far from standoffish, the Garrett today is gregarious and polite. Her personality, which used to keep people at a distance, now draws them in. Garrett says her change has been a 180-degree turnaround. When asked about her attitude, her coach expressed a similar sentiment.
“I didn’t like it when she first got here,” joked head track coach Pat Henry. “I’m kidding, but she’s changed. She really has. She’s a very outgoing person now. If my grandchildren come up here, the first person they ask to see is Brea. She’s so great with kids and she’s a fun girl to have on this team.”
Garrett’s change in approach has been coupled with her development as an athlete. At Texas A&M, she’s been able to focus all her athletic talents and strength on two events — the weight toss and shot put. Just months after setting the school record in the weight toss at last year’s Aggie Invitational, Garrett won the an individual national championship in the event at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships.
What should be even more frightening to her competition, however, is her continued improvement in the sport. Garrett has won the weight toss in five consecutive meets this season, improving her distance each time. Last week, she won the Tyson Invitational with a toss that eclipsed 73 feet en route to being named the SEC Field Athlete of the Week.
“Brea is a tremendous athlete,” Henry said. “She’s very talented and she’s beginning to use all of those talents in throwing the weight. She’s an explosive person, but she’s never been able to use all of the natural explosion that she has. Now, she’s really starting to figure it out.”
This is the final year of competition for Garrett. In May, she’ll graduate with a degree in psychology and sociology, which she plans on using to help improve the lives of children in the educational setting. This final semester is a bittersweet one for her, as she’s torn between looking forward to what’s to come and trying to enjoy everything she’s been able to experience here at Texas A&M.
Still, Garrett knows she won’t fully be able to grasp it all until long after she’s gone.
“It still hasn’t hit me yet,” Garrett said. “I have the trophy. I have the gear. I have all that stuff. I see it all the time. I even say it. I’ll say, ‘Yeah, I’m a national champion.’ But it still has not hit me that I actually did that. I’m fixing to leave here and go and in two years or so, I’m probably just going to sit back one day and say, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I actually accomplished all that.’ It’s still very surreal. It’s like a dream and I’m waiting to wake up, but if I don’t, then that’s cool too.”

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