Two DHS Graduates Participate in London Olympic Games

Filed under: Sports |

Duncanville, and Duncanville High School, is well represented at the Olympic Games in London.

Both 1997 DHS graduate Tamika Catchings and 2009 graduate Brigetta Barrett are in London at the Games of the XXX Olympiad.

Tamika Catchings

Tamika Catchings first played basketball at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois, before moving to Duncanville. While at Duncanville Catchings was named a Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-American, and played in the WBCA All-American game where she scored twelve points.

Catchings went on to be a All-American with the Tennessee Lady Volunteers for 1997-2001 and was drafted by the Indiana Fever of the WNBA in 2001. She also played for the USA women’s basketball team at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, helping the team win the gold medal.

Catchings was born with a hearing deficiency in both ears. As a child, she said her classmates teased her because she had hearing aids, glasses, and braces, and spoke with a speech impedi­ment. Upset by the teasing, she discarded the hearing aids and got by mostly by reading lips. Catchings didn’t regularly wear hearing aids again until her freshman year at Tennes­see, when head coach Pat Summitt noticed that she wasn’t doing everything she was told. So Catchings wore them through her sophomore year, but doesn’t wear hearing aids on the court anymore. She does put them in for public speaking engagements to help her pronunciation, and has become one of the country’s leading spokespersons for overcoming hearing impairment.

In 2001, Catchings was named WNBA MVP. NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird, who had campaigned for Catchings, said she deserves the award. “Everyone here at Pacers Sports & Entertainment is not only happy to have an MVP, but also a quality person who is not only great on the court, but in the community, as well,” he said. “This is very deserving, as Tamika fits the true description of an MVP. It’s another in a long list of accomplishments, all of which we’re extremely proud for her.”

Catchings and the Team USA defeated Croatia in the Preliminary Round of Group A on July 28, by a score of 81-56. In 22 minutes of play, Catchings scored 10 points, had 2 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. On July 30, Team USA is set to take on Angola, who fell to Turkey by a score of 72-50.

Follow Catchings on Twitter at @Catchin24.

Brigetta Barrett

Brigetta Barrett grew up in New York, where she first started high jumping her freshman year of high school. For her junior year, Barrett packed her bags and moved to Texas to live with family members and give herself the best possible environment for success.

Barrett’s move to Duncanville paid off as she became a two-time Texas state champion and earned a scholarship to Arizona.

“I can’t express how proud I am of former Duncanville Panther and one of my favorite high school athletes, Brigetta Barrett. A picture of one of Brigetta’s state championship high school jumps has hung in my office since 2009. Brigetta will represent the USA in the upcoming Olympics. More importantly, Brigetta is a great kid and great role model,” said Kevin Ozee who was the Athletic Director at Duncanville High School when Barrett attended DHS.

In only her sophomore year of college, Barrett exploded on the international high jump scene. After winning victories at NCAA Indoor and Outdoor as well as the USA Championships, Barrett traveled out of the country for the first time to win the World University Games and advance to finish 10th at the World Championships.

Barrett is majoring in theatre arts with a minor in creative writing. She wrote and produced the first ever black history month play on the campus of Arizona.

At the 2012 Olympic Trials, she found herself on both sides of the mixed zone as she spent her first week interviewing fellow athletes for her blog Born2BGreat.

Barrett qualified as the runner-up at the USA Olympic Trials with a jump of 6’7”.  At the Olympic Trials Barrett broke her personal record twice, and became the first collegiate over 2 meters with her jump of 2.01M/6’7”. Barrett finished second to one of the best jumpers in the world, Chaunte Lowe, based on misses and now ties for #2 mark in the world.

Barrett is scheduled to compete in London on August 9th and 11th.

You can follow Barrett at the Olympics on Twitter at @bebe3114.