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Dec. 30, 2015

Aaliyah Barnes is the jack-of-all-trades sprinter for the women of the Scarlet and Gray. A contender in multiple events, Barnes was a two-time Big Ten champion with the 4×400-meter relay team last season and a member of three school-record relay teams. She has collected five All-America awards in her first two seasons at Ohio State and is highly motivated entering her junior season following a disappointing finish to the 2015 campaign. OhioStateBuckeyes.com caught up with “Mookie” to see how she’s feeling with the 2016 season on the horizon.

On last season
“Last year was pretty exciting. I had a lot of success that I didn’t expect. We were kind of young. Overall, I think we did really well. This season I’m really focused on finishing, because nationals didn’t go well last year. We have a great team back so it’s time to get where we should have been last year.”

On the work she’s done in the offseason
“It was hard to get back from the disappointment after nationals. We took weeks off and then a few of us started lifting. This is my first year squatting and snatching. We were in here three times a week over the summer lifting heavy and getting ready for the season.”

On the key to a successful relay team
“Everybody needs to know the role they play and want to win. Last year, we knew what the coaches wanted our roles to be but I didn’t really accept my role or understand what my role was to help the team be successful. This year we just want to buy in to what the coaches have planned and the place we’re put in.”

On her individual goals
“I’m pretty sure everyone knows I’m a wild card, I kind of run everything. I’m going to try to short sprints here in the next week actually. I do want to be successful in the 400 but I do see my potential in the 200. Whatever happens, happens. I want to be Top 3 in each event at the conference championships.”

On running in multiple events
“I love it. I always want to run more events. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to win. All I want to do is win a championship.”

On the team’s goals
“I expect to win indoor and outdoor and also have a team that goes to nationals. This team is so talented and the coaches have done a great job. I don’t think I’ve ever run this fast this early, so I’m really excited. I think this is a team we can take to nationals and make some noise.”