Every young athlete dreams of excelling in his or her particular sport. They envision taking their skills to the collegiate level and competing with the best. And, sometimes those dreams become reality, which is certainly the case for Barton College’s rising senior Larry Russell. Russell sums it up perfectly, “Barton College is a campus community that provides a tremendous amount of support; it’s a place where everyone can fit in and develop their strengths.”
Enrolling in fall 2015, Russell soon declared his major in Criminology and Criminal Justice Sciences the following spring semester. He became intrigued with the field of Criminal Justice when he took an introductory class in high school. Russell continued to develop a strong interest in police work in the years that followed, and he has a passion for true crime documentaries. His future dream job? A homicide detective.
In the meantime, Russell is a Barton Bulldog standout in track and field. Participating in both indoor and outdoor track events, his specialties include the long jump, high jump, triple jump, and 60-meter hurdles for indoor track, and the 110-meter hurdles for outdoor track. Russell has reached the NCAA DII nationals four times, including this spring’s 2018 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Charlotte, where he was one of 18 participants in the long jump. Russell earned third place honors in the long jump and secured his fourth overall track All-American honor. Russell also was an NCAA Division II All-American for both long and high jump during the past two years of his Barton Experience.
Influential relationships and mentors at the College have been a significant part of the Barton Experience for Russell. He attributes much of his success to his coaches and teammates. He shares that his coach, David Nicholson, has made a tremendous impact on his collegiate track career, noting, “I would not be where I am today or have had so many opportunities to go to nationals without the help of my coach.”
While Russell emphasizes that his teammates have been there for him throughout his career, providing encouragement and support, he attributes the Barton Student-Athlete Leadership Academy for his development of valuable leadership and empowerment skills. “The Leadership Academy has not only allowed me to work more closely with my teammates, but also to become more confident in when speaking in my classes,” he adds. “The Leadership Academy program pushes me to be a better person every day.”
Dedication is imperative for a collegiate student-athlete. And, no one knows that better than Russell. He practices every day of the week, and, some days, he practices twice a day. During the school year, Russell participates in indoor track during the fall season and in outdoor track during the spring season. Barton’s track practices and meets begin in late August and extend through the end of April. These long seasons require hard work and dedication every single day to achieve the results Russell seeks. And, on days when he has no practice or training, then Russell is usually lifting weights. For Russell, discipline is key.
Track takes up much of Russell’s free time outside of class, but he loves every minute he spends in preparation for the next competition. When he’s not on the track or in the gym, Russell loves to hang out with friends. And, when he finds enough time to return home to Maryland, he also enjoys playing the drums during his church’s Sunday service.
Russell’s athletic awards are numerous, and his most recent recognitions include being named the Conference Carolinas Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year in May. He was also chosen as Conference Carolinas Indoor Field Athlete of the Year earlier in February. Russell was also named the Southeast Region Indoor Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association before earning NCAA Division II All-America honors as well.
Russell is quick to emphasize that the support from his coaches, teammates, and the Barton community are major factors in helping him accomplish so much during his Barton Experience.
What’s next for Russell? He still has his senior year to complete at Barton, and, then, he would love to take his track career to the professional level. Time and hard work in the classroom and on the track will help define Russell’s future. This Barton Bulldog is definitely running in the right direction!