Coach Greg Barnes is fortunate to have one of the best combined boys and girls squads in the state of Florida. Last year, the boys finished the year as 2A state champions while the girls cracked the top ten, coming in 9th. We caught up with Barnes to talk about this year's Patriot squads and their expectations for 2017.
How did your team finish last year at state?
My boys team won the 2A state.championship and my girls got 9th place. We were a much better team than that last year. We had a few mistakes that cost us. I just told them to remember this feeling so next year it doesn't happen again.
Who are your top returners?
My top returning boys are Anthony Schwartz, Patrick Surtain, Marco Wilson, Jason Heinstkill, Mattew Solomon, Tyson Campbel, and Isaiah Jeune. My top returning girls are Morgan Rhett, Asia McMillan, Myrka Cadet, Jada James, Danielle Bess, Sidney Lambert, and Kori Collins.
What key losses do you have from last season?
McKinley Brown and Khalil Herbert.
Do you have any impact freshmen coming in or transfers?
Well we had an incoming 8th grader Jaden Mcburrows who is one of the top 8th graders in the country and I had two that transfer in 400 runner Monte Parker and 800m runner Jose Penalver. Both are top kids in the state.
What has the preseason training been like? What are you focusing on and what have you been the most impressed with?
Our preseason has been great. My focus this year has been on strength and endurance and it has been very impressive to see how far they have come. I am very happy with both teams. They have been working very hard with a purpose in mind.
What meets are you keying in on this year?
We have a few meets in mind like Kowboy Invite, Sam Burley, and Florida Relays.
What are the goals of this year's squad?
Well it doesn't really change for us. It's all about development, progression, focus and at the end of that a state championship .
How would you describe this year's team?
Tough. We have a deep team and a strong will to want to be the best they can be. They always push each other everyday.
Is there anything else you want to add?
Yes, I think this year we will see some great times across the board and it should be a great season. Good luck to all the coaches. Most importantly, I'd like to thank my staff for all the hard work they put in .