Four years ago, Joseph Barnes didn’t know anything about college track and field.
It didn’t take him long to get informed.
On Wednesday, the Brownstown Central senior signed his letter of intent to throw at Indiana State University.
“It’s the best feeling ever,” Barnes said. “It just made my senior year. I’m no longer a senior going against these young bucks. I’m going to be a freshman all over again and will have to climb my way up the totem pole.”
Barnes has come a long way since transferring to BCHS from Medora his sophomore year.
After not getting to compete on varsity his sophomore year due to transfer rules, Barnes made his presence felt his junior season.
Last spring, Barnes was the Mid-Southern Conference and sectional champion in shot and discus.
Barnes went on to win the discus at regional before competing in both events at the state meet at Indiana University.
Around that time, the college letters started pouring in for Barnes.
At that time, Barnes knew that he had a chance at throwing at the next level with elite talent.
In his final year as a Brave, Barnes hasn’t slowed down.
He hasn’t lost in shot or discus this season, claiming MSC and sectional titles.
Barnes now holds the school record in the discus (170 feet, 2 inches) and shot put (57-10).
“I was talking to the other coaches, and I don’t believe (Barnes’) records will be broken very soon,” BC throws coach Jerry Brown said.
“Ron Harrison’s record was in 1981 and David Baker was in the early 2000s for the shot put. Records are made to be broke, and we have some throwers that could get in that range. But will it be broken? I don’t know. He has definitely came out and changed the culture here with throwing.”
Knowing that he would throw at ISU a couple months back, Barnes is using the good news as fuel for the rest of the season.
“It’s a wake-up, really,” Barnes said. “I found out about halfway through this (spring season) that they would sign with me. After that, things took a really good turn practice-wise. I don’t feel like my throwing is coming to an end, but it’s just starting. I started relaxing and goofing-off a little bit, but when I found out I would keep throwing it turned the season around. My dream came true.”
At ISU, Barnes will work with at least three different throwing coaches.
Barnes said that he visited ISU with his family and fell in love with the school’s culture and coaches.
The Sycamores are members of the Missouri Valley Conference.
“They’re going to get a hard worker,” Brown said of Barnes. “He’s an overall athlete. He has speed, quickness, strength and a motor to him. He has a lot of good qualities in him.”
Brown said he believes Barnes will put in the work to improve at ISU.
“As a coach, it’s awesome to see progression,” Brown said. “You like to see athletes have success — that’s why we’re here. We want to make sure they have the opportunity. The thing with Joe is that he has a lot of self-motivation and discipline. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. They need to want it on their own — and he does.
Barnes will throw discus and shot tonight at the Bloomington North Regional, and he is expected to return to state in both events next week at IU.