Local Sports, Sports, Trinity Christian

Trinity’s Jenna Barnett signs to run at Glenville State

MORGANTOWN — Distance runners are experts in patience. They’re masters at biding their time until just the right moment to kick into high gear and cross the finish line.

Maybe that’s why Trinity Christian senior Jenna Barnett didn’t mind waiting until Friday to finally have her signing day ceremony.

“I’ve been a little nervous,” Barnett said, “but I don’t even know why I was nervous because I’ve already actually signed the paper.”

National Signing Day has already come and passed and Barnett already inked her national letter of intent to Glenville State, so Friday’s ceremony wasn’t official as much as it was an opportunity for Barnett’s friends, family and coaches to pack the chapel at Trinity Christian School and celebrate her.

“It was cool to walk into school and have such a family environment,” Barnett said. “It’s really exciting to see this room filled because it just goes to show how many people have made me who I am today.”

Barnett will compete in both cross country and track and field for the Pioneers. She said the draw to Glenville was the coach, Dan Meyers.

“He has built a relationship with me and he kind of reminds me of my dad,” Barnett said. “I like the way he coaches me and we’re not even coach and player yet.”

Barnett’s father, John Barnett, is her cross county and track coach at Trinity. Barnett said she sees similarities between he father’s coaching style and Meyers’.

“My dad doesn’t coach me like he coaches every other person on the team,” she said. “He knows my limits and he knows what I’m capable of so he really pushed me to be the best athlete I possibly could be and I don’t think I would be where I am without him.

“Dan gave me that same vibe. He’s going to push me when I need it, he’s going to back off when it’s too much. He’s going to care about me like I’m one of his own and that’s what I needed.”

For John Barnett, he said his daughter’s recruitment was finally a time for him to stop being ‘coach’ and just be ‘dad’.

“It’s never easy to coach your own kid,” he admitted. “At the end of practice or the end of a meet, you have to give up coaching and become dad and that’s tough at times. You want to talk about things afterward, but sometimes you just have to shut it down and be dad. 

“When I went (to Glenville State) with her, it was one of the first times where I actually just got to be dad. I went on that trip and didn’t have anything to think about but looking at athletics and academics.”

Barnett, who won her first state title in the 4×400 relay last season, has about a month left of her senior track season. She said her main goals remaining are to improve upon her personal best times and also try to win another state championship or two at next month’s state meet.

Also a standout basketball player for the Warriors — she earned first-team all-state honors this season — Barnett said she’s not fully closing the door on her hoops career just yet.

“There’s always a thought to do basketball,” she said. “I really want to see where I can go as just a distance runner focusing solely on that because I’ve never done it. But it’s never off the table, I love the game.”