The Student News Site of Granada High School

The Pomegranate

The Student News Site of Granada High School

The Pomegranate

The Student News Site of Granada High School

The Pomegranate

Grabbing Life by the Horns

Athlete of the Week: Jana Barron


This week, Granada’s Athlete of the Week spends her time running Cross Country for Granada High School. Senior Jana Barron has been on the Granada cross-country team since Freshman year and has been running since kindergarten which shows how experienced she is at the sport. 

Most athletes have a reason why they joined a sport such as loving to kick a ball or in Jana’s case loving to run. Jana details the reason she joined and loves the sport, “I started running cause my mom put me in, but I think what inspired me was just running because I just love running and that’s basically it.” Jana loves to run; it allows her to actually look forward to running all the time. Being able to love the sport that she plays really helps because she is able to enjoy it while still competing against others.

Being a student-athlete playing on a team is the best feeling knowing that everyone has your back. But it also can be very tiring and take up a lot of your time. Barron says her favorite part is, “I love the team, they’re super fun you get to meet a bunch of new people, so that’s exciting.” Every year a brand new group of kids join the cross-country team and Jana loves meeting them and running with them throughout the year.  She loves her teammates and meeting new ones and they love her. Audrey Manely (11) has experienced being on a team with Jana and describes her by saying, “She’s really dedicated to the team and she motivates everyone to get through workouts and do their best.” Jana’s supportiveness towards her team allows them to actually want to be on a team with her which overall forms unbreakable bonds within the team.

Most of being a student-athlete is being committed to the sport and team that you are playing for and with. Jana shares that her biggest accomplishment as a student-athlete would be, “Probably my sophomore year I was NCS division two champion as an individual and as a team.” Having that said, when you are a student-athlete you have to be fully committed to the work that comes along with it. When you play a team sport you learn it’s an amazing feeling when not only you but your team wins. Sade Bumpus (9) details this by saying, “She’s the fastest girl on the team and so she helps us with a lot of our races.” Not only does Jana contribute to our school by ranking high in lots of races but this inspires her teammates to want to become better and overall get better.

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It is important to keep your body healthy when you are a part of cross country because it uses your upper and lower body muscles. Ena Lim (10), a teammate of Jana, says, “Last year I know that she went through a lot of injuries and I think this year she changed her training schedule so it would help accommodate what her body can take.” Knowing your limits and how far you can take things is something you should know about your body in order to succeed. “I think I’ve mentally grown more than like my physical capabilities because I had a lot of barriers and I’ve been able to break through them being mentally positive and stuff,” says Jana. Part of cross country is being mentally tough; when you’re in a race you have to be fully committed to it.

Making sure to get a good start to the morning when you have a race is pretty important, one little thing can throw you off track. Jana explains what her morning-to-race routine is like, “In the morning I usually eat like avocado toast or like a smoothie or something like that and then we usually warm up like an hour before our ways. We do lots of dynamic stretching and then I like to do drills, our team doesn’t do that but I do them myself. I have sports-induced asthma, so I take an inhaler and then put on the race shoes, and then get on the line.” Having sports-induced asthma is pretty hard when you run cross-country because you are active for a long period of time, and the only rest you get is when the race is over. It’s also crucial to make sure you eat something before a race so that your body has enough energy to support you throughout it.

The annual EBAL cross-country race is coming up in a few weeks and while people do stress a lot over this, Jana is very excited for the upcoming race. Jana shows her excitement by saying, “Yes I’m very excited, I got a lot of good competition and I want to run a fast time on that course.” EBAL races can be scary but also very fun. Jana loves to run with her team and is so excited to run with them at this year’s EBAL race.

Jana’s teammates believe her sportsmanship and leadership in the team allow her to impact them in a positive way. Tanner Gray (12) has experienced being on a team with Jana since freshman year, “She’s always trying to help people get better and she’s always concerned for her teammates.”

Jana’s care for her fellow teammates allows them to enjoy being on a team with her. A student who expresses similar feelings is Taylor Conover (9). For the few months Taylor has been running with Jana she has seen the way she acts towards the team and only talks about the positives of being on a team with Jana, “I’d say Jana is a good team player, you can tell she cares about the team as a whole, and not just her success but the whole team’s success.” Being able to care for yourself and the people around you really helps you become a more positive person. Jana’s positivity radiates onto her teammates and this is why they love being on a team with her.

Jana’s coaches have definitely seen her improve drastically since she joined the cross-country team. Her coaches, Jeremy Mattern, Noel Mattern, And Taylor Galland, have described her strengths as a runner. Coach Noel Mattern says, “Jana believes in herself and always tries to do her best.  She is good at leading the team during a race.  She has strong racing instincts and is able to put herself into competitive situations.”

The ability to get into a competitive mode during a race allows Jana to succeed during them. Coach Galland agrees and adds, “Jana is a great contributor to the team. She does an excellent job cheering on her teammates and consistently races well. She has improved in her confidence over her time on the team.”

Coach Jeremy Mattern says, “Jana is a strong competitor. She gives her all in workouts in order to simulate race intensity.” Jana’s three coaches describe her strong competitive nature and her ability to adapt to competitive situations. She is an amazing runner who can navigate around courses easily while still having the energy to support and cheer on her teammates.

Due to Jana’s amazing sportsmanship, hard work, and determination in her sport, she has been able to win lots of races and will be able to excel in the future. Her coaches, teammates, and family all support her and are so proud of how she has improved since freshman year. Jana is a fierce runner with lots of resilience in overcoming issues and hopes that running will help her in the future. “She’s just always there for people, she always listens to everyone and she completes everything,” Ena Lim (10).

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About the Contributors
Taiye Bumpus
Taiye Bumpus, Reporter
Taiye Bumpus is in the Granada High School Class of 2027. She partakes in clubs such as Speech and Debate, Model U.N., and Culinary Arts. During her free time, she likes baking as well as being at home with her family.
Addison Nguyen
Addison Nguyen, Reporter
Addison Nguyen is part of the class of 2027 and has been writing for the Pomegranate since 2023. She is a member of several Granada clubs and coaches for Ljfl cheerleading. In her free time, she enjoys relaxing at home and watching Netflix.

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