Christy Barrett Sherman made it clear — her induction into the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame on Friday morning is a pinch-me moment and “surreal.”

“It’s a great honor and I’m just kind of shocked that this is happening,” the Indiana State University Athletics Hall of Fame shot put and discus thrower told the Tribune-Star on Tuesday. “I’m not one to talk about myself. I’m really excited about it. And I’m excited that [ISU men’s basketball] is playing well.”

Her induction became official Friday in the Stifel Theatre at St. Louis. Sherman was commemorated just hours before the top-seeded ISU men’s basketball team’s opener against No. 9 Missouri State at 1 p.m. in the MVC Tournament.

She’s part of the 27th MVC Hall of Fame class, which also includes baseball great Curtis Granderson of Illinois-Chicago; football standout Boomer Grigsby of Illinois State; legendary Tulsa basketball coach Nolan Richardson; administrator Bob Bowlsby; and longtime Illinois State sports information director Tom Lamonica. The MVC Hall now includes 151 former student-athletes, administrators, coaches and contributors.

Sherman, a Wabash Valley native, graduated from West Vigo High School after growing up in Rockville, where she also spent her first three years of high school. Her late father, Jay Barrett, coached football and other sports at those schools.

She joins former women’s basketball player Melanie Boeglin, who received MVC Hall induction last winter, as homegrown athletes in the conference shrine. The other ISU athletes in the Missouri Valley Hall of Fame include Larry Bird (1997), Holli Hyche (1999), Bruce Baumgartner (2003), Duane Klueh (2006), John Wooden (2009), Kurt Thomas (2011), Bob King (2014), Roger Counsil (2015), John McNichols (2019) and Kylie Hutson (2020).

“It’s really humbling,” Sherman said, with meekness. “It’s all kind of surreal, and I’m still trying to soak it all in.

“To me, I was just an athlete and I just competed,” she added. “I just did what I was supposed to do.”

In 1990 and 1991, Sherman was a NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Championships runner-up in shot put, and a year earlier she placed second in the outdoor meet.

In the Wabash Valley and in particular, West Vigo Vikings country, her tight-knit family were integral to her maturation as a person and ironing out her iconic athletic career. She comes from a large family, the fourth child in a lineage of eight kids.

“That was never my intention, to be a thrower,” Sherman said. “My dad, Jay, coached everything. He was the head football coach, he coached swimming, he coached track, he pretty much coached everything. So all of us, I had seven siblings, we all participated in whatever season, whatever sport it was.”

The Vikings football field bears Jay Barrett’s name, in homage.

Sherman, like many athletes in the state, spent hours competing in sports, from volleyball in the autumn to basketball when there was a white dusting of snow outdoors, track and field when spring came around, and then an extra athletic push of swimming in the summer.

She said all of her kindred were thrown into hurdling and throwing. That’s where she went on to make a mark. Her family had her back — always.

“The one memory that stands out the most is that my parents, the late Nancy and Jay, never missed anything,” Sherman said. “They came to everything and my brothers and sisters came with them, so they would travel wherever I was to watch me compete.”

Sherman said some of her siblings and her parents would show up in support for road trips to places like Springfield, Missouri, and watch her develop into one of the elite hammer throwers in the country. She was a four-time All-American.

Sherman tipped her cap to an ISU track program the hands of head coach Angela Martin and associate head coach Jeff Martin.

“The program has been so successful. I’m very proud to be associated with ISU track and field,” Sherman said. “I see them quite a bit — our kids will go to some of their meets. It’s just fun and they are great people to work with. They’ve done a tremendous job with this program. I wish them nothing but success.”

She is very much involved in the development and enhancement of Vigo County and the surrounding region.

Three days ago, Rose-Hulman announced men’s and women’s track and field coach Larry Cole was retiring. Barrett has been on staff with that program for two decades with him. She also has been teaching at Benjamin Franklin Elementary in Terre Haute for 30 years and is currently teaching reading.

Sherman said seeing kids make cognitive growth and leaps is something that she treasures and keeps her coming back into the building.

As she recounted her track and field career this week, she said she did “OK” as an athlete growing up in the Barrett household. That’s an understatement, of course.

Now she’s enshrined in the ISU and MVC Hall of Fame. And through the years, her family witnessed her rise toward Friday’s honor.


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