The summer is almost over. The school year will begin in less than a month. There will be a number of magnificent high school athletes in the Philadelphia area to watch this coming academic year.
Two to watch are the multi-talented, fraternal twin sisters Myla and Hailey Grace Barnett from the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr.
Myla participates in soccer, indoor track and lacrosse; Hailey runs cross country and is a rower.
The No. 1 sport for Myla is lacrosse, which she has been playing since age 13. At 15, Myla has already given a verbal commitment to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Hailey is an outstanding rower on the Baldwin School’s crew team. She developed a passion for rowing in the seventh grade and has developed her skills through hard work and attending camps. In addition, she had an opportunity to compete in the Henley Royal Regatta in Canada this summer. Her rowing talents have attracted interest, also from the University of Virginia.
Both sisters are juniors and standouts in the Inter-Academic League. They have both reaped the benefits of playing more than one sport. As a freshman, Myla broke the Baldwin’s indoor track record in the 400 meters. The following year she broke its indoor track record in the 800 meters.
“I think soccer and track have helped me with my speed and awareness,” Myla said. “You have to do a lot of running in both sports. That’s what I do in lacrosse.
“I’ve only been playing lacrosse for three years. I started playing lacrosse in the seventh grade as a goalie. In eighth grade, I started playing in the field. As a ninth grader, I started playing on our school’s varsity team. I play on a lacrosse club team,” she said about her progression in the sport.
“We compete in different tournaments,” Myla said. “Overall, I just think playing different sports have certainly helped me.”
Hailey, a captain of the Baldwin cross-country team, uses the distance running to increase her physical fitness and competitive outlook for rowing.
“In the fall, I’m going to run cross country,” Hailey said. “It keeps my endurance up. I like cross country, but I really have a passion for rowing.
“I went to a rowing camp in Conshohocken in seventh grade. That’s where I learned how to row. The next year, I did the same program,” she added. “I started in ninth grade for the crew team. I was in a quad each year.
“I went to the Henley Regatta in Ontario, Canada, this summer. I just came back. It’s a very competitive environment. Crews come from Texas, California and all over to compete in this tournament. We all compete to go to the semifinals and finals.
“I worked out with the Fairmount rowing team on Boathouse Row,” she said about the facility in Philadelphia. “I had a chance to work on some of the things my coaches had told me to do. I want to try to enhance my rowing skills for this year.”
Myla has been fortunate to have a chance to participate in a sport like lacrosse. After high school, she expects to play Division I lacrosse at the University of Virginia. She would like to see the sport become more prominent among urban youth. To that end, she has been working with children from Eyekonz Field Hockey and Lacrosse League at the Shepard Recreation Center, 5700 Haverford Ave.
“I really like the Eyekonz program,” Myla said. “I work with Jazmine [Smith, program director] in West Philly. She does a really good job down there. The kids get a chance to learn how to play the game. I want to do what I can to help Jazmine and all the kids who come out to play lacrosse.”
Myla and Hailey are both great student-athletes who have been able to balance their busy schedules on and off the field, including watching each other compete.
“We support each other,” Hailey said. “Crew is a very big time commitment, but when I’m not rowing I’ll come to see her play.”