Mount Gilead’s Jonah Barnett made his choice for the future last Monday at Mount Gilead High School when the Indian senior announced he would be attending Mount Vernon Nazarene University to run track for the Cougars.
Barnett, who will major in communication science and disorders had the ability to compete collegiately in multiple sports, as he was a first-team All-Ohio football player in Division V after rushing for 2443 yards last fall.
“Track’s always been my dream,” he said. “It was tough, but this is always what I wanted to do.”
The Indian standout has had his share of accomplishments in the spring sport for the Indians, too. Last year, he was a first-team league pick and advanced to the state meet in the 200-meter dash. He also earned first-team Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference recognition both as a freshman and sophomore, leaving him looking to be a four-time first-team MOAC runner this spring.
“My goal is to make it to state and place,” he said about the upcoming season. “I’ve been running since November.”
While he looked at other colleges, he found plenty of reasons to attend MVNU, including family ties.
“My parents both went there,” he said. “It’s where they met. I took a visit in July and it felt like home. I was looking at Findlay and Bluffton, but as soon as I visited it, it stuck with me all the way through.”
Barnett is expecting to be a contributor for the Cougars early on in his college career, especially since the university’s track program is still very young.
“I’m ready to go in and do my role,” he said. “Whatever they need to be successful.”
So far, indications are that his role will be a bit different than in high school. While a lot of his success with the Indians has been in the shortest races, he said that MVNU is looking to place him in the 400.
“It’s just a different pace,” he said of the difference between that and the 200. “It’s more of a controlled sprint than the hard one for the 200. It’s more of a controlled race.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS