There was a time in her high school athletic career when Jakki Barrera doubted if she would ever compete in sports again.

That was in the weeks and months after the Alice High School two-sport star blew out a knee playing summer basketball before her junior year. The injury sidelined Barrera for her entire junior year, but she battled through the setback — the doubt, the physical pain of the injury and rehabilitation and the mental stress of missing a whole basketball season and track season.

Barrera returned and had a solid senior basketball season. Where she seemed to hit her stride was in track and field where she was second in the 400-meter dash. She advanced to the area meet and then competed in the Region IV-5A meet in San Antonio. She was impressive enough to get the attention of Texas A&M University-Kingsville coaches who offered her a spot in the Div. II program.

She made it official Monday in front of family, friends, teammates, coaches and teachers in the Alice High School Activity Center when she signed a national letter of intent to run track and field at TAMUK next season.

Barrera said the ordeal is the realization of a life-long dream.

“The journey leading up to this moment has been very challenging,” she said. “After recovering from a complete ACL/meniscus tear and sitting out my entire junior season, I had lost hope in believing I could compete at the collegiate level. Being given the opportunity to run track at Texas A&M University-Kingsville is a complete dream. The months of therapy, the long hours of training, and the years of hard work are finally paying off. It’s a true honor to call myself a collegiate athlete at TAMUK.”