After competing in the track and field State tournament for shot put last week from Veteran's Memorial Stadium at Buchanan High in Clovis, Pitman High’s Whitney Barnes became the first student-athlete in Pitman school history to compete in the State tournaments in two different sports.
Barnes also helped the Pride reach the CIF volleyball state tournament in 2014 — and she still has another season left.
“That is crazy... quite an honor and accomplishment. That actually feels amazing. Not sure how else to describe my emotions. I do feel proud,” said Barnes.
Barnes became the seventh Pride track athlete to compete at State with the latest State competitor coming in 2015 (Kiana Clay) who competed in the girls 400-meter race. Barnes is also the first Pride athlete to compete in the shot put at State.
“I’m very thankful to have had amazing coaches and teammates on my journey,” said Barnes.
During this year’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I Finals, she hit a personal record of 40 feet, 6 inches which placed her in second.
Barnes followed that performance by hitting 38 feet, 10.5 inches in the Masters Final for third place only to clear 39 feet, 2.25 inches in the CIF State Championship Prelims for a 14th place finish.
“Entering the stadium for the State meet was a bit intimidating. The shot put was right at the front of the stadium in the middle of the track. I was by myself in the first flight. I knew we each only got three throws. Turned out my first throw was my best. My track season was cut short last year due to the surgery I needed on my shin. I feel like I could have done well last season too. I am definitely looking forward to competing next season,” she said.
While Barnes is seeing success on the field, her three consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I titles with the volleyball squad is what earned her a scholarship to San Jose State University.
“In February, I committed to play volleyball,” said Barnes of attending SJSU. “I am really excited to join coach Jo and play at the collegiate level. I feel very fortunate to have had an opportunity to play and compete at such a high level, both in high school volleyball and in club volleyball. Many coaches have pushed me along the way.”
During her first volleyball season in 2014 as a freshman, Barnes was a difference maker from the onset, finishing with the third most kills on the squad. Barnes was also first in total blocks with 108; second best was 48.
As a sophomore, Barnes was second on the team in kills with 234 and played a pivotal role in the Section finale victory over Pleasant Grove.
Barnes came right back to play a key role as a junior in the fall of 2016 as she was second on the team with 270 kills and was second with digs at 260 in a season where the Pride met and defeated the Turlock Bulldogs in a crosstown matchup for the D-I final.
“It has been awesome being part of the success we've had with Pitman volleyball," said Barnes. "Each year I feel like we gear up to get prepared for playoffs. I personally can feel the difference as we enter playoffs. I am proud that I have been part of each group that has earned a Section title. And I will do everything I can to help our team do the same for this upcoming season.”