Grace Barnes dodges stress and aims for wins


Jeannie Ngansop

Grace Barnes, ‘26 worked hard to keep herself active while school was online and all spring sports haven’t gotten started yet. And now she is working hard as a first time lacrosse player balancing sports and school work.

In the beginning of the school year many sports for junior high athletes were cancelled and delayed, but while WHHS was online Grace Barnes, ‘26, was still active and tried her best to stay fit. 

“I don’t think [COVID-19] affected me in a negative way when I wasn’t playing a sport because I still worked out and got outside, but when I did start lacrosse it was a lot better for me in a lot of ways because I got to get outside and work out and I got actual human interaction,” Barnes said. 

Many sports have been taking COVID-19 procedures to keep athletes safe. The CDC suggests playing contact sports with people that live with you, but if you aren’t able to do that they suggest to limit the amount of time the athletes are touching. 

“I haven’t played lacrosse before COVID-19 but there are some precautions we have to take like being six feet apart on the sidelines and having to wear masks when we come into the facilities but not while playing lacrosse. The coaches wear masks as well. We also fill out a form before any game or practice about COVID-19 symptoms,” Barnes said. 

Playing sports or regularly exercising provides many benefits such as getting fit, increasing strength and improving heart health as well as mental health. According to HelpGuide, “regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety and ADHD. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better in addition to boosting your overall mood.” 

Barnes is in her first year of playing on the WHHS girls lacrosse team. She tried out lacrosse because she knew some people who played lacrosse and she heard the coaches were nice. Once she tried it out Barnes enjoyed the sport and decided to stick with it.

Grace Barnes, ‘26 plays on the WHHS lacrosse team for the first time. She is eager to continue playing lacrosse in high school for the junior varsity or the varsity team. (Courtesy of Grace Barnes)

Barnes believes that teamwork with her teammates is important in order to succeed in lacrosse. 

“[Teamwork] is very important because you have to communicate to get stuff done,” Barnes said. 

Her biggest inspiration to be a better lacrosse player are her parents and family members.

“My parents and my family inspire me because they are very motivating and encouraging,” Barnes said. 

While playing lacrosse there are ups and downs. During discouraging games when the team is losing the lacrosse coaches use their “‘Eagles’ on three” chant at half times as well as a pep talk to uplift the lacrosse players’ spirits. 

Many student athletes may have problems with balancing school, work and sports practices but Barnes actually has a very efficient way of taking care of her work, in addition to her lacrosse practice. 

On every Monday or Tuesday her and her dad sit down together. They usually plan out  the week, write down a schedule she’ll follow and study for a test or two.

As well as playing lacrosse and doing school work, Barnes also does gymnastics, where she enjoys doing flips, back handsprings and cartwheels.

In her free time, Barnes likes to bake, her favorite foods to bake being cookies and cupcakes as well as bread. When she’s not doing her schoolwork or practicing for a sport she’s spending time with her three-year-old cocker spaniel poodle, Charley.

From playing lacrosse Barnes was introduced to many new friends, but she also spends a lot of time with her friends outside of lacrosse. 

“I have lots of friends that don’t play lacrosse. I met some of my other friends through people I already knew or I met them at school,” said Barnes. 

In the future she looks forward to continuing lacrosse in ninth grade.

“Everyone is super nice and it’s something to do other than schoolwork,”  Barnes said.