Kenny Barnabee, Xavier Heard – The562.org
Hopefully there will never be a need for another sports program like the one we saw last spring. Sports seasons were overlapping in new and difficult ways, making it even harder for multi-sport athletes to pursue their diverse passions. A number of athletes have navigated these choppy waters, but two have stood out as the city’s top dual-sport athletes for 2021.
Kenny Barnabee, Long Beach Poly Baseball/Soccer
It’s hard to assess whether Barnabee was a football player playing baseball or a baseball player playing football, so best to say he was one of Long Beach’s most dynamic athletes and leave it at that. The eldest was the co-Moore League Offensive Player of the Year on the soccer field, helping the Poly boys win an exciting league title. He even scored the first playoff goal for the Jackrabbits in their 3-2 win over the Channel Islands.
The next day on the baseball field, Barnabee scored an epic seventh inning hat-trick to help the Jackrabbits beat Millikan. Poly ended up winning back-to-back league titles for the first time in school history, and Barnabee was a big reason for that. He was a first-team All-Moore League selection in baseball and was quite possibly the league’s best defensive player in center field for the Jackrabbits.
Xavier Heard, Jordan Football/Athletics
A huge bright spot in a tough year at Jordan has been the success of the Panther Xavier Heard legacy. One of the city’s best linemen 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 put his talents to good use this season in track and field, where he won the Moore League title in the boys’ shot put with a 51-09 surge and took third place in the discus throw. In the CIF-SS final, Heard represented Jordan well with a second place finish in the shot put, a PR of 53-08 and a fourth place finish in the discus. In that event, Heard broke his own school record over 16 feet with a 161-01 throw.
“I came to Jordan to leave another part of our family heritage, my mother, my father, my cousins, my uncles all went here,” Heard said. “I wanted to leave a good mark on Jordan and I think I did.”