His Season Finished, Kalon Barnes Goes Out On Top

Michael Allen knows there's only so much you can say about Kalon Barnes, his star sprinter for Silsbee (TX) High School. 

Much of it has already been said. 

Best sprinter to ever come out of Southeast Texas. One of the best athletes to ever grace Silsbee's halls. Possibly a future Olympian. 

But Allen, who's the head boys track and field coach and an assistant football coach for Silsbee, knows there's one comparison that sets Barnes apart. Allen is a California native, and years ago he was fortunate to have witnessed the burgeoning career of Reggie Bush, a future Heisman Trophy winner for Southern California and eventual NFL starter for a handful of teams. 

Allen is among unique company to compare the two. And he's certain Barnes, who's headed to Baylor University, is special. 

"Reggie Bush could run and he was fast," Allen said, "but by God, not like Kalon. I saw Reggie run by everybody on the track. He was a Heisman Trophy winner. But Kalon is faster than Reggie." 

There's certain expectations that accompany any big comparison, but Barnes has never buckled under the pressure. This past weekend at the UIL Class 4A Championships, he set an all conditions US No. 1 best of 10.04 (+3.2) in the 100m and all conditions US No. 2 best of 20.55 in the 200m. They marked his second straight championships in both races, giving him four titles in Texas over the last two seasons. 

"He wanted to do something special that he didn't do before," Allen said. "We wished it was wind legal, but I mean, it is what it is. People will talk about that race for a long time." 

Is he the fastest sprinter in the country? 

That question isn't so easy to answer, if only because Anthony Schwartz, who has proven consistently in 2018 that he's earned the title of 'Fastest In The Nation,' is in Florida. 

Barnes, however, is 1-0 against Schwartz.

On the outside lane of the adidas Boost Boston Games Dream 100m in 2017, Barnes rolled to a victory in 10.34 (+0.1). Schwartz, who was working back from injury, was second in 10.41.

"Reggie Bush could run and he was fast," Allen said, "but by God, not like Kalon.

But we aren't going to see this matchup again. 

Schwartz is headed to the Great Southwest Classic in June looking to potentially go under 10 seconds. Barnes is enrolling at Baylor University early so he can get a jumpstart on classes and football. 

"Anthony is a great athlete," Allen said. "But just how I know Anthony and his family and his coaches are doing what's best for him, we're doing what's best for us. If it was best for Kalon to run against Anthony, we would do it. But it's not like we're looking to race anyone in particular."

In some ways, then, this question is a little unsettled. 

Schwartz's best all conditions 100m is 10.07 (+2.5), but he's run wind-legal efforts of 10.13, 10.16 and 10.18. 

No other athlete in the country has matched that sterling resume, other than possibly Barnes. 

But the Texan has asterisks around his performances. His best efforts this season have all been non-wind legal. There was his state performance. There was an alleged 9.9 hand-time at a local meet. There was another hand-timed 10.12. There was his all conditions 10.23 at the UIL Class 4A District 22 meet. His only wind-legal mark was 10.43 (+1.6) from the Region 3-4A Meet. 

To some, that would be fair enough to raise the red flag. Is he really that fast then? 

But Allen will vouch, with complete 100-percent certainty, that he could compete with anyone in the country. 

"I'm always going to go with my guy," Allen said. "I know the type of competitor he is. When you put someone against him, he'll go get it. I've only seen him lose one race in my life."

It should be noted, too, that Barnes will go down as one of Southeast Texas' top athletes of all-time. As a power forward on the school's basketball team, he gobbled up rebounds and slammed home putbacks for the back-to-back state champions. 

As a wide receiver and cornerback, he was a three-star recruit who dominated on the field and made his opponents look silly.

In recent years, the Southeast Texas region had its first Olympian, Port Arthur Memorial graduate Inika McPherson, and crowned the world's strongest man, Mark Henry, a graduate of Silsbee. 

Barnes is among that crowd, and he may ultimately compare to some of his region's best. 

But while his high school track and career will end a little soon, his impression on the track will stand for a long time. 

"He wanted to go out with a bang," Allen said, "and he did." 

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Contact National Content Producer Cory Mull at cory.mull@flosports.tv or tweet at him @bycorymull