Thrown into success

Joseph Barnes’ throws know no boundaries.

At Salem, Barnes launched his discus so far it landed in a creek.

In a home meet, at Brownstown Central, the senior rocketed the disc over the fence.

In 2017, Barnes hasn’t lost a throwing contest.

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Barnes, who qualified for the state finals in both the discus and shot put his junior year, hasn’t missed a beat.

At this year’s Salem Invitational, Barnes broke the school record in discus with a throw of 170 feet, 2 inches.

That throw would have placed him seventh at last year’s state finals

It wasn’t a fluke.

On Tuesday, Barnes threw 169 feet.

Last year, Barnes said he was throwing consistently around 145 feet in the discus.

“We’ve gotten over a lot of technique snags,” Barnes said. “Right after state last year is when I figured out some things with my discus. I’ve been sticking my left foot faster and further back in the ring when I’m landing.

“It’s creating more of a lift at the end. It’s sending my disc further out to the right. I’ve had to change some things in the back and move over to my right about a quarter inch/inch and a half to compensate.”

Braves throwing coach Jerry Brown said that Barnes is getting better each time out in both throwing events.

“(Barnes) is so quick and explosive in the ring,” Brown said. “There’s not many throwers outside of the state and regional that are as explosive as he is. For a big guy, he’s very athletic.

“We have individual goals for each of our throwers. His goal was to break the school records. I knew he could, it was just a matter of getting to that level. Right now, he’s progressing with his distances. The sky is the limit for (Barnes).”

While Barnes hasn’t eclipsed the school record in the shot put (56-1), he’s making giant strides in the event and still winning every meet.

Barnes is averaging throws in the low 50-feet range. He was in mid to low 40s most of last year.

At last year’s Bloomington North Regional, Barnes threw the shot 55-7 for the title.

His furthest throw this season is 53-8.

At the indoor state track and field meet, The Hoosier State Relays on March 25, Barnes placed fourth by throwing 49-7 1/2.

Barnes said that he’s spending more time on his shot put than discus.

“I practice shot put more, but we’ve had so many nice days that you can’t pass on throwing the disc,” Barnes said. “A lot of my shot put has been indoors. That was pretty much two full months of shot. I think I burned myself out on that. I needed to take a break on focus on disc. I think that full two weeks of discus helped a lot.”

While he hasn’t hit the school record yet, Brown is confident Barnes will eclipse the mark as the season winds down.

“It’s harder to increase distances in shot put as it is for discus,” Brown said. “If the wind is just right and the weather is nice, it will carry (in disc). Right now, it doesn’t look like he’s progressing as much in the shot put, but if you look at his numbers from last year his average is more. Last year he was in the 40s and now he’s in the low 50s.”

On May 11, Barnes looks to defend his shot put and discus titles at the Mid-Southern Conference meet in Corydon.