Sophomore Fletcher Barnard starts his season with a record time


Fletcher Barnard runs towards a new record.

Bethany Lambert, Sports Editor

On Sat. Sept. 10, the CCCHS cross country team ran a course at the Hermitage.

Sophomore Fletcher Barnard got a personal best, breaking our school’s sophomore record. Barnard placed 12 out of 145 boys at this meet. He ran a time of 16:42.

Most high school cross country runners run anywhere between 18 and 23 minutes. 

As a freshman, he ran 17:17, making him one of the top freshmen in the state. 

He suffered multiple stress fractures at the end of his freshman year. His training didn’t start back up until May, and he’s already broken records barely weeks into the competitive season. 

The raiders hosted a meet on Sept. 13, and Barnard didn’t break a new record at this meet. However, he did take first place by several seconds, aiding our boys team to win first place overall. 

He first started running his freshman year when he was forced to quit basketball. He said he continued his running career because he “started moving up in ranks,” which stands true to this day. 

Barnard is currently ranked the seventh sophomore in the state, 43rd overall and third in our region.

He talked about his goals for this season: “I had originally set a goal to break 17 [minutes] and get down in the 16:40s. Now, I plan to get down to a 16:15 or 16 flat. My junior year, I want to get down to 15:15 and continue to lower it from there. Hopefully I’ll be at a big D1 school.” 

He touched on the injury he battled leading up to the season: “I had seven stress fractures. I was out from the end of January until the beginning of May. I started running a quarter mile at a time and kept building up…I didn’t think I’d be able to run this season. It took a lot of trust and faith in the Lord for me to do it.”  

He mentioned he doesn’t feel or think while running, he simply runs. His biggest advice for new runners or those looking to improve is: “Don’t worry about what other people are running, worry about you…and take care of yourself, be careful.” 

Coach Matt Rossman shared his experience coaching Barnard: “It’s fun for me… Fletcher is super competitive and wants to win just like I did in high school.…He cares about his individual performances but also the team as a whole.” 

Barnard strives to get better every time he runs. He also cares for his team, whether that means helping them stretch, strategize, or lending a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen. 

The Coffee County cross country team asks for your support in their ongoing season.