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Estherville Relays renamed after long-time coach

Dick Barrett to wrap up 50th season of coaching track this year—32 in Estherville

May 1, 2019
David Swartz - Managing Editor ( , Estherville News

By David Swartz

Managing Editor

Since announcing his retirement earlier this month, Estherville Lincoln Central Boys Track Coach Dick Barrett knew he was to be honored for his 32 years of coaching track in Estherville at the 98th Running of the Estherville Relays on Friday.

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However, the coach still received a big surprise when ELC Athletic Director Scott Stokes announced that the Estherville Relays would be renamed the "Dick Barrett Relays."

"I was blown away. I'm still finding it hard to talk about it," Barrett said Friday evening at the conclusion of the track meet. "I have mixed emotions retiring anyway. I'm realizing this is the last Estherville Relays that I'll be the head coach at. As it got near the end, I could feel it slipping away.

"I thank Scott Stokes, Estherville Lincoln Central schools and the booster club for what they did for me tonight-I can't say thank you enough," he continued.

Prior to the presentation by Stokes, Barrett made his own presentation to Chris Beck and Brad Beck, both long-time volunteers at the Estherville Relays.

While Brad was unable to be present, Chris accepted the award on behalf of the brothers, both local alumni.

Barrett said 10 former athletes that he coached helped with Friday's relays, which included the championship distance medley relay team from 2016 of Dan Christensen, Alex Miller, Kyle DeVary and Nic Peters. Those four were responsible for earning five state medals and setting four school records at the state track meet that year.

DeVary said when he was a sophomore, Barrett had wanted him to run in the 4x400. DeVary was unsure of himself at that time.

"Barrett put his arm around me and gave me a pep talk, because we were borderline on qualifying," said DeVary. "All year I'd been running 56s, 55s. I ended up getting us to second place and ran my best split of the year. Barrett just came up to me afterward and told me I was going to be a great runner the rest of my career. We qualified for state. We shave 9 seconds off our time for a top 5 in school history. That was the moment he was most proud of me."

"I did track my freshman and senior years," said Miller. "My second meet I was doing the high hurdles at USD and I false-started. I was super scared to go up there because I thought Barrett was going to yell at me. I ended up going up there and he just told me to brush it off, it was just experience and he wasn't mad. That gave me confidence for the rest of the year."

Peters talked about his junior season when he was starting to catch up to another 800 runner-Rodrick Fuller.

"Barrett told me I could be better than him and I ran it at districts," Peters said.

A party was held in honor of Barrett at Mother Nature's following Friday's meet. Guests included fellow coaches, school personnel, former athletes and even a couple that knew Barrett when he began coaching track in Rolfe.

Editor's note: The Estherville News will feature Coach Barrett in a future story with highlights from his career as head coach in Estherville.



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