Salute To Seniors: Bria Barnes (Cheltenham)

Today, we salute Bria Barnes of Cheltenham.

Barnes wrapped up a terrific prep career on the track for the Panthers, earning a number of state medals and quick times along the way. She clocked a personal best of 53.39 in the 400 meters to take second in an historically fast AAA final at the PIAA State Championships. During the indoor season, she went 54.05 to take fourth at New Balance Nationals Indoor and earn All American status.

Barnes was also apart of Cheltenham's state-record setting 4x100 meter relay, which ran 45.78 in 2016, a record that still stands today. She also ran PRs of 24.41 in the 200 meters, 12.00 in the 100 meters and 38.97 in the indoor 300 meters.

Barnes, an Iowa State recruit, reflected on her high school career for PennTrackXC.

Throughout the end of June and through July we we be honoring our graduating seniors. To submit your own questionnaire to be posted on the front page of PennTrackXC, check out this page and email your responses to Dan Beck (


What was your most memorable race/competition?

My most memorable race was my last 400m race at the 2019 Outdoor State Championship meet at Shippensburg University. I knew that it was my last high school race so I wanted to leave the track with a great end to my high school career. It was an intense race with fantastic track runner, Talitha Diggs, and a very hard finish. I ended my season as runner-up in the 400m race and a great personal best time of 53.39.

Where did you face your biggest competition?

I faced my biggest competition at the 2019 New Balance Nationals Indoor meet. The final race in the 400m was intense as I raced against a phenomenal track runner, Kayla Davis. As we closed the race I used my arms to help me get across the line. But it wasn't quick enough, as she passed me within the last 50m. I didn't leave the race defeated at all. I had a huge personal best time of 54.05 and was honored to stand on the podium as an All American, taking 4th place but being US #5. That was my goal and I accomplished it.

Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?

Out of all of my high school accomplishments, the one that stands out the most was becoming an All American. My teammate Brianna Smith and I set goals for the season, with one of them being for the both of us to leave New Balance Nationals as All Americans. After a shaky Indoor State Championship meet at Penn State University, I wasn't going to allow that to mess up the ending of my indoor season. I went into the national meet with a positive mindset with the encouragement of my family and friends, teammates, Coaches, and most importantly my Faith. I never thought I would be able to accomplish this and I did, and it's such a blessing.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?

One thing I would change about my athletic career in high school was the way I approached races. I tended to always either focus on my competition or just be very anxious about my upcoming races. This dwindled with me a lot and I wish I didn't do it as much as I did.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

The most difficult obstacles I had to overcome was a hamstring injury, doubting myself, and having a bad mindset. I got injured at the 2018 Indoor State Championship at Penn State University. It was a struggle to keep my head up, but with the help of family, friends, teammates, and Coaches, I managed to get through this. When I was able to run again I tended to doubt myself and my capabilities, which lead to me having trouble in keeping a good mindset. I finally overcome these obstacles my senior year. I had a great mindset, I learned many lessons, and I enjoyed my senior year of running track.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss my team the most. I was blessed to be on such a great team with phenomenal athletes. They welcomed me when I first came and I've learned to be a leader on the Cheltenham High School Track and Field Team. Alexis Crosby who went to further her academic and athletic career at Syracuse University was the role model I looked up to while at Cheltenham. She was my teammate, training partner, and my friend. The team bond was like no other at Cheltenham and that was the best thing about the team. 

Do you have any advice for younger athletes?

To the younger athletes, first I encourage you to cherish  your time in high school because it goes by very fast. But most importantly I want you to stay focused, work hard, be a student-athlete, and be a LEADER. Being a track athlete or an athlete in general, you are always watched on and off of the track. Track is a sport that teaches you discipline, perseverance, and leadership. Use these tools to help you grow in your sport and your life.

How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?

There are many coaches that have guided me and helped me throughout my entire track career. They all kept me encouraged through everything. They taught me to be a leader and to stay focused. Trust me they knew what they were doing on the track with the hard workouts. But they helped me to grow as a student-athlete and a young adult and I really appreciate it.

What are your post-high school plans?

I am going to further my academic and athletic career at Iowa State University which is in the Big 12 Conference. I want to study accounting in the Ivy School of Business. I plan on having my own practice in the future. As far as athletics, I hope to go as far as I can, hopefully doing well enough at the Big 12 Championship to allow me to go to NCAA. And maybe further down the road I hope I get the opportunity to go to the Olympics. 

Any shoutouts?

There are MANY people that have been there for me and guided me in my high school journey and helped me to transition into another chapter in my life. So to all of you thank you and I really appreciate all of you