Courtland Barnes is a junior Communications, Sciences, and Disorders major at the University of Mississippi.
Barnes grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, where from an early age he realized he had a passion for sports and competition. By his freshmen year in high school—first at Oxford High and then at Senatobia High—he had made himself into a standout four-sport athlete.
In football, he played both running back and linebacker, earning all-division honors in the latter.
In powerlifting, he was a top performing at deadlift, Olympic-style squats, and bench press.
In soccer, he started at forward.
Yet, it was track and field that Courtland proved himself to be truly elite. He competed in the 4X100 and 4x200 relays; the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 400-meter dash; and pole vault. By his senior year, he had earned All-State honors in four of those events: 4x100, 4x200, 200, and pole vault.
Barnes’ passion and talent in track and field landed him a spot on the varsity men’s track team at the
University of Mississippi. Barnes competes regularly, and is a top performer, in the 4x100 relay as well as the 100- and 200-meter dash.
Barnes cites his lifetime of competing in sports as a source of important life lessons. “Sports is growth. Just like there are a lot of obstacles in life that you have to get passed, get over, get around, sports challenges you do things that maybe you didn’t think you could do. And, you’re learning those lessons, you’re pushing yourself every time you step on the field, when you lace up your spikes, when you getting ready for competition.”
For Barnes, joining Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity has also brought many opportunities for growth. “Sigma has helped guide me down the right path. It just keeps you from making the wrong decisions, teaches you how to be a man, and just a lot of other life lessons. Just like in sports, just like in life, there are times of turmoil and challenging times, but you get through it with those who you’re close to, that you care about.”
Of the biggest lesson that he’s learned since being in the fraternity, Barnes notes, “It’s more than just you. The world don’t revolve around you. You fall, you gotta pick yourself up, pick up those closest to you, and just keep pushing forward.”