Hopefully there will never need to be another sports schedule like the one we saw this past spring. Sports seasons overlapped in new and difficult ways, making it even more challenging for multi-sport athletes to pursue their various passions. There were a number of athletes who navigated those choppy waters, but two of them stood out as the best dual-sport athletes in the city for 2021.
Kenny Barnabee, Long Beach Poly Baseball/Soccer
It’s difficult to assess whether Barnabee was a soccer player playing baseball or a baseball player playing soccer, so best to say he was one of Long Beach’s most dynamic athletes and leave it at that. The senior was the Moore League’s co-Offensive Player of the Year on the soccer field, helping the Poly boys capture an exciting league title. He even scored the first goal of the playoffs for the Jackrabbits in their 3-2 win over Channel Islands.
The very next day on the baseball field, Barnabee hit an epic game-tying triple in the seventh inning to help the Jackrabbits beat Millikan. Poly ended up claiming back-to-back league titles for the first time in school history, and Barnabee was a big reason why. He was a first-team All-Moore League selection in baseball and was quite possibly the best defensive player in the league in center field for the Jackrabbits.
Xavier Heard, Jordan Football/Track & Field
A huge bright spot in a challenging year at Jordan was the success of Panther legacy Xavier Heard. One of the top linemen in the city on the football field, Heard signed a scholarship to play football at Lane College next season, but his senior season didn’t end there.
Heard took his talents to the track & field season, where he won the Moore League title in the boys’ shot put with a heave of 51-09 and took third in the discus. At the CIF-SS finals, Heard represented well for Jordan with a second-place finish in the shot put, throwing a PR of 53-08, and a fourth-place finish in the discus. In that event, Heard shattered his own school record by more than 16 feet with a throw of 161-01.
“I came to Jordan to leave another part of our family legacy, my mom, my dad, my cousins, my uncles all went here,” said Heard. “I wanted to leave a good mark on Jordan and I think I did.”