Andrew Barner was late in joining the Pope lacrosse team because of wrestling, but the three weeks he was given with the Greyhounds were worth it.
The midfielder scored 10 goals and added six assists during that stretch.
“We were getting into the part of the season where he was really starting to come on,” Pope lacrosse coach Carl Pfaff said. “He can play solid defense and is one of those guys who can take care of the ball when you needed him to.”
Pope traveled to Florida for some competition once Barner joined the team, and he had three goals in his debut. The Greyhounds were 7-4 overall when the coronavirus pandemic forced an early end to the season. Six of the victories came after Barner joined the squad.
When the announcement was officially made that schools were going to close, Barner was not surprised.
“We kind of knew something was going to happen,” he said. “Coaches were telling us to get our stuff out of locker room just in case. We were all trying to stay positive, but we were happy we got to spend time together as a team.
“We had a good team going in. We were starting to put everything together, but, overall, it was still a good season. It was very short, but I’m glad it happened.”
Barner grew up playing lacrosse with aspirations of being on Pope’s varsity roster, according to his father, Karl. When he was in sixth grade, one of Andrew Barner’s coaches encouraged him to wrestle because it would make him a better lacrosse player.
Barner enjoyed a successful final season on the mat, helping lead the Greyhounds to the Class AAAAAA state dual title. His win at 170 pounds in the championship against Richmond Hill helped secure a 30-24 victory.
Having to wrestle for as long as 6 minutes during matches helped build stamina for lacrosse, where he was required to cover the entire field.
“My biggest strength is being able to have endurance to stay on the field the whole time, running back and forth to play offense and defense,” Barner said.
Despite earning opportunities from Division II and Division III schools to play lacrosse, Barner decided to concentrate on his studies. He is attending Kennesaw State in the fall, but he may not hang up his stick just yet. He is considering playing for the Owls’ club team.
“I feel like I haven’t finished my lacrosse career,” Barner said. “I want to keep going.”