MANHATTAN — Before the Manhattan track and field season, 2019 state champion senior Wyatt Barney said that after a lost 2020 season he wasn’t where he wanted to be in terms of running, but hard work led him to three Class B state titles in 2021.
“We put in a lot of work over the season," Barney said. "My coaches put in a lot of extra time helping working on my form, getting workouts in, doing as much as we could throughout the season. It was great to have the team that we had. We had an amazing team this year. Good to have them backing each other up and everyone pushing each other to just get to where we wanted to be, especially with missing last year. The team was huge.”
At the Class B state track and field meet, the Manhattan senior won the 400-meter run in 49.54 seconds and the 800 in 1 minute, 55.82 seconds along with the 1,600-meter relay with his teammates, so how did he celebrate?
“I usually go eat a sandwich, drink some water and take a nap,” Barney said with a laugh.
The now-graduated Barney was more than pumped to win a couple of state titles, but his favorite moment was getting to spend the season with his teammates after not having one during 2020 and taking home third place as a team.
“It was amazing to know all the hard work that I’ve put in and me and my teammates had put in and all those extra hours that the coaches put in and everything,” Barney said. “It was amazing to see that it all paid off and it was awesome for us to get a team trophy too. That was probably the highlight of my weekend because we weren’t sure if we were going to be in the running for that.”
Barney committed to Montana Tech’s track and field team just a few weeks ago.
“It was starting to creep up on me where I needed to make a choice and so I reached out to (Montana Tech head coach Zach Kughn) again and he was still interested and I went and visited the school and I really liked their school,” said Barney. “I want to go into mechanical engineering and they have a super nice program there. It seemed like the right fit for me.”
Barney is excited he’ll be close enough for his parents to continue to watch him race in person.
“Them being able to drive up and watch me run is great, I love that,” he said.
As for what he’ll miss the most: Tigers head coach John Sillitti.
“I’ve known him for a long time, he’s had a huge impact on how I’ve become a runner and how I’ve become a person -- just a big impact on my life,” Barney said.