player profile: Johnathon Barnett leads in 400-meter

Sai Srikar Kadiyam

Johnathon Barnett’s interest in athletics goes back to the fourth grade when he decided that he wanted to play a sport.

“I wanted to play football or basketball, but my father didn’t,” he said.

In high school, he realized his aptitude for running.

“I started running track my sophomore year,” he said. “I was serious about it, and then I just fell in love with it”.

Originally from St. Louis, senior Barnett does not regret leaving home.

“I am here because of the great coaches” he said. “It was a great choice to come to UMKC and I am very thankful”.

This season Barnett is focusing on the 400-meter race, although he said, “800 meters is my favorite event.”

Barnett finished first at 50.14 in the 400-meter dash last Saturday at the Mule Relays in Warrensburg.

Barnett emphasized how interaction between coaches and athletes helps give the team a certain motivation to improve performance. There are always goals and expectations to fulfill.

“Me and the coaches do a lot of talking every week,” he said. “They [the coaches] support me and we figure out together what is better [type of competition] for me”.

Barnett’s primary goal for the season is “winning the conference and going to the nationals,” he said. “I got one more year before I graduate and I want to get better times and win awards.”

Track and field can be a challenge for athletes

“I approximately run 25 to 30 miles a week,” Barnett said.

Balancing the rigors of athletics and academics is difficult, but Barnett has been able to handle the stress and fatigue quite well.

“It is very hard to keep up, no matter what sport you play,” he said. “But you have to find your own ways and they [UMKC] make it easier for you.”

After a long day of school and practice, Barnett likes to relax and play video games.

“I love ‘Call of Duty’ and sports games,” he said. “We get together and relax, we all get along pretty good.”

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