Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Barge Finds Her Niche On Track

By Brian Rosenthal

Jasmine Barge was a second-team All-American in the 400-meter hurdles last year, and this year she is ranked first in the 100-meter hurdles and second in the 400-meter hurdles heading into the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in Iowa City, Iowa this weekend. Barge started off her senior season strong with runner-up honors in the 60-meter hurdles at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, and she has climbed to No. 4 all-time at NU in the 100-meter hurdles with a personal-best time of 13.09. Barge, a native of Florissant, Missouri, visited with Brian Rosenthal of Huskers.com earlier this week.

BR: Let’s go back to your roots: How did you become first involved in track and field?

Jasmine: “This is going to sound really funny. I didn’t start track until high school. I played basketball since I was a little girl, and I was playing basketball my sophomore year and the coach was like, ‘You don’t need to be here, you need to be doing something different.’ (laughs) They were like, ‘Basketball isn’t for you. We can tell the way you’re running back and forth on the court.’ Even when we were doing basketball workouts, I was the only person who wasn’t tired. I was just looking at everybody like, ‘What? What’s going on?’ So I went out for track that year, and that pretty much just started it for me.”

BR: So when you went out for track, what was the first event you tried?

Jasmine: “I actually did hurdles. That was one of my first events. Then I ran on a few relays, like the 4-by-100, the 4-by-200 and the 4-by-400. But yeah, I started with hurdles. They kind of just threw me in it. They literally just threw me in the event, and then I got good at it and was like, ‘Oh, I guess I do kind of like this.’ ”

BR: What attracted you to Nebraska?

Jasmine: “There were a lot of things, actually. Like for one, when I first came, it just felt like home. I was looking for a place that I could call home, and a lot of the other schools really couldn’t match up to that. Even the bigger schools, it just didn’t feel like home. They also had a lot of things to offer academically, so that’s a big thing, especially for me and my family. Like, that’s number one, and track is number two. Those were the main things. And also, the coaches.”

BR: In what areas do you think you’ve most improved the most as an athlete since you’ve been at Nebraska?

Jasmine: “As an athlete? I guess basically my confidence in running. I guess my confidence wasn’t that high, like, ‘Uh, I don’t know if I can do this.’ And then I’d go out there and do something crazy. So definitely my confidence. That has been a major, major thing.”

BR: What’s your favorite event today?

Jasmine: “The 400 hurdles is my favorite. I don’t have to sprint the whole time. (laughs) I just feel more relaxed running that race. Like, I don’t have to think about too much running. I just go out there and run.”

BR: What’s the one event you would not do unless you were forced to try?

Jasmine: “Well, I would do anything if they asked me too, like, ‘Oh we need this.’ But probably not the 10K or the 5K.”

BR: Do you get an extra rush when you’re competing at home in front of the home fans, like last weekend?

Jasmine: “Oh, yeah, definitely, especially since my parents can come more often, because we travel pretty far sometimes. Just being in our home environment, the place I practice in every day, I just feel good.”

BR: You’ve already answered this, kind of, but are there any other sports have you participated in or would like to try sometime? We know basketball …

Jasmine: “No, I don’t think so. I’m not really good at anything. (laughs) Volleyball looks fun, but I’m kind of short, and I’m not coordinated. Actually, I did dance, and I’ve done cheerleading. But I was little, like elementary school.”

BR: What are your plans after college?

Jasmine: “Right now it’s still kind of in the air, but I definitely do want to go to law school. I’m working toward that. I’ve still got some time to decide.”

BR: What something about Nebraska that would make a student-athlete recruit want to come here?

Jasmine:  “Outside of sports, definitely the academic advisers. The have been a really big help. Even outside of academics, you could talk to anyone. You could talk to advisers, counselors. I think that’s a really good addition to the school.”

Reach Brian at brosenthal@huskers.com or follow him on Twitter @GBRosenthal.

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