Will Rossmiller email@example.com – Twitter @willrossmiller
Participating in two sports in high school is common for many athletes and in some cases is the norm.
However, college athletes tend to just focus on one sport. Casey Barnes, on the other hand, spent his first two years at the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point participating in football as a quarterback and baseball as an outfielder.
Now in his junior year, Barnes decided that this year he wanted to just concentrate on his baseball career.
Barnes first attempted to play football at Northern Michigan University. He was redshirted his freshman year, and after that season decided to move on to UWSP.
Initially, Barnes decided to only play baseball at Stevens Point, but former head football coach John Miech was willing to allow Barnes to participate in both sports.
“Coach Bloom and Coach Miech did a good job of coordinating when I should go to which practice,” Barnes said.
He decided not to participate in football this year because of the physical toll the game was taking on his body.
“It really was a personal decision to stay healthy,” Barnes said. “The problem was all of the injuries I had over the two years.”
Barnes said that he had four major injuries in just two seasons and was only able to play in eight football games over those seasons.
“That’s not really what you’re looking for as a college athlete. You want to be able to stay healthy,” Barnes said.
Baseball Head Coach Pat Bloom is happy that Barnes decided to set his sights just on baseball and thinks that Barnes will develop into an even better player.
“We think that he’s got tremendous potential as a baseball player, and now that he’s focusing just in that sport, I feel that he has great opportunities to do some very special things on the baseball field this season,” Bloom said.
Though Bloom is pleased with Barnes’ decision, new football head coach Tom Journell is without one of his quarterbacks.
“I wish him the best,” Journell said. “I was pleased to have him for two years and we wish he had chosen football, but he is a great baseball player.”
Journell only spoke praise of Barnes. “He was a great athlete and dynamic player,” Journell said. “He always had a lot of energy and was fun to coach.”
Journell also said he could understand why Barnes wanted to focus his time on baseball. “It’s hard to play two sports at this school,” Journell said. “It’s a year-round thing for all sports here.”
Besides seeing his baseball skills substantially increase, Barnes also said that being around the team during the whole season has made a big difference in fitting in with everyone.
“When I joined the team last year in January, it was difficult to fit in with everybody because I hadn’t been there for the fall,” Barnes said.
As an upperclassman, Barnes now holds a leadership role with the team and can see a potential future in baseball.
“I would like to think there is a future for me to play baseball,” Barnes said. “It will always be a goal of mine to work towards that.”
After 19 games this season, Barnes has posted a .360 batting average, five doubles, 21 runs batted in, and has played stellar defense in centerfield for the Pointers.