Katie Barnett, student-athlete and Class of 2017 valedictorian, signs with Princeton University

On Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 9:00 AM, the Student Center at Admiral Farragut Academy overflowed with supportive classmates, faculty, and staff as Farragut senior and track and field athlete, Katie Barnett, signed with Princeton University. Katie will become a member of their women’s track and field team, whom are 18-time Ivy League Heptagonal Champions.

Katie, who has attended Farragut since her sophomore year, broke the school record in 2016 for the triple jump with 37’9.5. She also helped lead the girls to win states in 2015. Academically, Katie is an Advanced Placement and Honors student, holding a weighted GPA of 4.355, and was selected as the Class of 2017’s valedictorian.

“As finalist at the 2015 World Youth Trials, Katie proved at a young age she belonged amongst the nation’s best,” states the official announcement by Princeton published on February 16, 2017. “Her experience and maturity helped her finish her junior season as a Florida state champion in the triple jump and as a runner-up in the long jump. Off the track, Katie was voted as a leader in her Navy Junior ROTC program at Admiral Farragut.”

“Katie is one incredible athlete,” said Arron Prather, head coach of the track and field team at Farragut.

“I’ve been running since I was ten, I’ve trained with some of the fastest people in the world, my wife is one of the fastest women in the world, and I’ve never met someone quite like Katie. She exemplifies what a true athlete should be. She’s hardworking, she’s dedicated, she doesn’t complain, and most of all she’s passionate and committed to academic excellence. I’m so proud that I’m part of her success.” Coach Prather then gifted Katie with a signed copy of Olympic gold medalist Calvin Smith’s book, It Should Have Been Gold: The Silent Runner Speaks.

“I call her the guarantee,” Coach Prather joked. “That means she guarantees me 18-20 points in each meet.”

“Katie is on the next level not just academically but athletically,” added Associate Athletic Director and Softball Head Coach Linda Derk. “That says a lot about her training here.”

“I’ve known Katie for a number of years. She has tremendous abilities, but it starts with the family,” said Wayne Burnett, Katie’s private track coach. “She’s got great parents and they’ve put a lot of good character and moral values in her, and that leads to great abilities and motivation. She’s really excelled.”

Katie was accepted to many different colleges, including Harvard, Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania, and MIT, but it took one visit to Princeton’s campus for her to know where she wanted to be.

“I am ecstatic,” Katie said. “Ever since I went to visit the campus I knew that it was gonna be for me. Just the atmosphere, the team coach, it was everything I was looking for in a school. I can’t wait until September 12th!” Which is when Katie starts freshman orientation at Princeton.

Katie is majoring in environmental engineering. “My goal is to create more eco-friendly materials that biodegrade without releasing harmful chemicals,” she says. “I want to create things that will help reduce carbon emissions. Mr. Monroe, my engineering teacher, helped me find this passion. I learned a lot from his class.”