'It makes me appreciate it a lot'; Davies' Barnick building resilience in the face of long injury history

In Barnick's six year high school track career. five have been interrupted by injury.

Davies' Brenna Barnick finishes a run during the Eagles' track practice.
Zach Staton/WDAY Sports
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FARGO — In the midst of the melting March snow, Brenna Barnick is right at home on the track.

"It was something me and my dad used to do together," she said. "We used to always do the Fargo Marathon. Then I started doing it and fell in love with it."

Barnick started running varsity track for Davies in seventh grade, with high hopes for her future.

Instead, she'd find the path to the last finish line every season would involve some kind of injury hurdle.

"You can anticipate it because you feel like the same pain coming back and it’s so similar to what you felt before," Barnick said.


In her track career, five seasons were interrupted or completely ended because of some type of injury.

"I had tendonitis in my ankle that just got really bad my seventh grade year. My eighth grade year I had to have knee surgery," she remembered. "The other years, it was just stress fractures and stress reactions that just kept coming back."

The constant start and stop nature of her career started taking its toll.

"Physically your body will heal itself but mentally, it’s really hard," Barnick said. "You see all these girls that are doing all these great things and you’re on the side."

"My freshman year, I was really over it. It was just really hard to come back every time and you’re just playing this constant game of catch up."

"It's incredibly, emotionally difficult," Davies distance coach Jason Edwards said. "Sometimes it's just trying to mask the symptoms and think it's not that bad, I can make it one more day, one more week."

Rather than quit, Barnick kept pushing through the mental and physical pain to make it back on the track by the end of each season.

"I realized that running is something that makes me feel good," she said. "It wasn’t the best season, it wasn’t pretty at all. They’re the ones, it’s the memories and all that that’s really worth it."


Having gone through every up and down she could think of, Barnick doesn't get too hopeful for injury-free seasons anymore.

Yet after each battle she faces, the future Minnesota State-Mankato runner keeps building confidence that no obstacle put in her way will be too great to overcome.

"There’s a lot of highs and lows that come with it," Barnick said. "It’s hard to sacrifice in the moment, but ultimately it’s worth it."

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