Senior spotlight: Katherine Barnette embodies what it means to be a Cavalier on and off the soccer field

Published 2:27 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2023

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Callaway senior Katherine Barnette was often an unsung starter on the Cavaliers girls soccer team during her four seasons on the field. She was never at top of the scoresheet, never one to receive all the praise and plaudits. She was the one who would sacrifice her body for 80 minutes, clashing with the midfield and attackers and getting the ball to the forwards to score goals. Barnette never cared about the attention, she just loved being a part of the team.

“After the last game, I couldn’t stop crying, this team has meant everything to me,” Barnette said. “It was really sad, but then I started to think about how my brother will be playing for the high school next year, and I started to realize this wouldn’t be the last time I’m around Callaway High soccer.

“Soccer became more than just a sport I played after school, it became one big family.”

The bonds built around soccer came from expected and unexpected places. One of those unexpected bonds came from a fierce competition for the same position in the starting lineup.

“I grew really close to Autumn Brown, but it’s actually a funny story because we didn’t like each other at first, ” Barnette said laughing. “The summer before my junior year coach (Mike) Petite kept telling me I would be a forward. Autumn moved in from McIntosh having never played soccer before a day in her life and swooped in and took the forward position. I really didn’t like her for a little while, but then I realized it was best for the team. 

“We have gotten really close now and sit back and laugh about it.”

Whether it was in the midfield or more than likely, at the wing-back position, Barnette always sacrificed whatever was necessary for the team. She was not always brimming with confidence on the soccer field. It was an aspect of being an athlete that she had to work at. By the time she departed, she was one of the leaders for the team.

“I feel like I have got stronger as a player and have become a more key part of the team,” Barnette said. 

After a freshman season that was spent on JV and then cut short by COVID-19, she really began to come into her own as a sophomore, her first full season with the Cavaliers. She blossomed in 2021 and her confidence on the field grew tenfold.

“Scoring a goal in the playoff game my sophomore year gave me a lot of confidence,” Barnette said. “It was one of the most memorable moments for me at Callaway.”

While her soccer career has likely seen its end, her academic career has some life in it yet. She will be attending West Georgia Technical College in the fall.

“West Georgia Tech felt like the best school to dip my toes in,” Barnette said. “If I decide I don’t really like college, and it’s not for me, I can just do their two year program, but if I do enjoy it I can transfer to a university and get my bachelors degree.”

She envisions herself being board certified to help kids with autism in the future, a cause near and dear to her heart. 

“My brother has autism, and I’ve helped him with over the phone and computer sessions during COVID (lockdown) and that made me realize that I wanted to help kids like him out,” Barnette said. 

This next step in her life’s journey is all thanks to Callaway, the only school she has ever known. To be a Cavalier is everything to Barnette even more so now that she sits on the eve of graduation.

“I went to Callaway elementary, middle and now the high school,” Barnett said. “I feel like I have gotten a lot of my values from Callaway over the years.”