Johnny Barnett is the Leavenworth and Lansing Elite Athletes head sprint coach. He recently started this program for track and field athletes in the Lansing and Leavenworth area who would like to get better in the sport.

Johnny Barnett is the Leavenworth and Lansing Elite Athletes head sprint coach. He recently started this program for track and field athletes in the Lansing and Leavenworth area who would like to get better in the sport.

1. Johnny, what program did you initiate this fall for middle school and high school athletes and how will they benefit from it?
My programs name is LLEA which stand for Leavenworth and Lansing Elite Athletes
The program I started is an AAU track/field club team for kids who run on the track team for their schools. This program is for athletes who want to run track all year round and train outside their normal season with the school, including in the winter, which would be indoor and the summer, which would be the outdoor season which starts right after their season with the school program.
The program is for the athletes to get a chance to compete against the best athletes in the Midwest area who they normally would not compete against. My workouts consist of intense hardcore training for the athletes to learn how to run faster and stronger. The benefit of running with this program is for the athletes to get a different type of training outside of their school workouts and to be able to focus training and competing all year round which allows them to always remain in shape.

2. What is your personal history in track and what motivated you to begin this program?
I’ve been running since I was 12 years old, when at first it was just another sport I was good in. I competed for my middle school first Richard Warren Middle School where I then realized I was blessed with a gift. After that I started running AAU track and field for a couple of club teams in the Kansas City area where I was seen by a coach here in Leavenworth. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have had so much success in the sport.
I’ve competed in four AAU indoor nationals, AAU and USATF 7 outdoor nationals, All American, broke several high school records and college ones too. I’ve always been named one of the fastest athletes in Kansas.
I did two years at Leavenworth High School where I made it to State as a freshman and I finished two years at Lansing High School where I graduated.
I then competed at a community college in Council Bluffs, Iowa, named Iowa Western where I was coached by an Olympian from Kingston, Jamaica, Shelene Williams. She pushed me to compete hard and I was also influenced by her a lot.
I then finished my career at Emporia State University where I was awarded another a scholarship. Soon after that I suffered from a back injury that put me out for the remainder of my season and I never got to compete again.
After two years of not competing and having a bittersweet taste in my mouth I knew I wanted to do something in the track world again. My mother and fellow coaches motivated me to start my own program and also young track athletes from my old high school even reached out to me for tips and advice.

3. Besides helping young athletes work on their performance, what else will you advise them on?
Not only will these athletes be getting the track training from me but also we will be working on their nutrition and development of the athletes.
The main goal is a good education and great track program to train with.

4. What is your goal for the athletes who join the program? And is your mission to bring back the once popular track and field to the community in a big way?
My goal for athletes who join this program is for them to be able to compete to the best of their ability and to be able to run to their full potential and not be scared.
This is not a program that is going to just be around for two years I want this program to grow and bring great success to my hometown, Leavenworth. I want this program to not only connect right here with all of us, but also to the areas surrounding us letting them know that we have great athletes right here in this community.
It is important for me to give back to this community because this is where I grew up, someone took a chance on me and I just want to repay the favor to reach out to young kids and provide them with the knowledge that I’ve gained in the last four years even though I am only 25 years of age I have a lot to give.
There is so much violence going on right now in the world. I’ve seen it firsthand. I just want to be a tool for these young kids to use when they feel frustrated and ready to give up. I want them to focus on their studies and train hard.
If they do that they will be able to succeed in anything they do in life.
 
Why is it a priority for you to give back to your community by helping these kids stay focused and stay out of 5. trouble?
In the photo posted with me are my two great athletes that run track at Leavenworth High School that I now have the pleasure of training this year, Clifford Robinson who is a senior who runs the 100, 200 and 4x1 relay and my sophomore Guy Ramos who I had the pleasure of training last summer who made it to the junior Olympics last summer in Humble, Texas.
He runs the 400, 200 and the 4x4 relay. These two are a big help to my program and major leaders for my other 15 athletes who I have on the team right now.
They just kicked off their first indoor track meet at Johnson County Community college a couple of weeks ago, where they both had some great performances. Clifford placed second overall in the 60m race and 200m race.
For our most recent meet we traveled to the University of Arkansas for the high school invitational on Jan. 15 where we competed against other athletes from all around the world. It was a huge meet.

— Rimsie McConiga