Local jumper is leaps and bounds above the rest
By Adam Modzelesky, 04/07/2004
There is nothing Bruce McBarnette can't do.
At 45, McBarnette is a Princeton graduate who practices primarily
contract and real estate law in Sterling. He's a member of
the Screen Actor's Guild. He's been on television shows such
as "Law & Order" and "The West Wing."
He's been in films such as "The Recruit" with Al
Pacino and "The Paper" with Robert Duvall.
And now, barely into middle age, McBarnette is the world
record holder for his age and nine-time national champion
in the high jump.
Last weekend, McBarnette won the National Masters USA Track
and Field Championship in Boston, Mass., with a jump of 6
feet 2 inches two inches short of his world record
of 6 feet 4 inches.
"There used to be a time, several years, when I would take
the silver or the bronze. It feels good to consistently get the
gold now," McBarnette said. "I have never performed less
than a bronze in a national tournament."
McBarnette mostly credits his rigorous training regiment for his
success. His season begins in February and doesn't end until September.
Then, in the off-season, he continues working out with weights,
doing sprint and distance running, and running up stairs. He said
the Lincoln Memorial has become is personal "training tool."
"What's helped me is that I never stop training," he
said. "A lot of athletes take breaks and come back. It's hard
to gain what you've lost in the interim."
It also helped that he was coached by one of the sport's elite
coaches: Fred Samara. Samara, now the Princeton Tigers' head track
coach, was McBarnette's jump coach back when he competed collegiately.
Samara competed in the 1976 Olympic Games in the decathlon event,
and later served as head coach for the 1982 U.S. decathlon team,
which competed in Leningrad.
McBarnette certainly followed in his tutor's footsteps. Along with
his nine national championships, McBarnette has also been featured
in Sports Illustrated and was named Athlete of the Year in his age
group by USA Track and Field in 2003.
"I will continue competing for as a long as I'm healthy,"
McBarnette said. "I have been fortunate that I can avoid injuries
pretty well, to the extent that I heal fast. You're always competing
against people your approximate age, so there's no limit on how
long I can compete."
But age isn't a factor at this point McBarnette competes
in open tournaments that feature some of the best college talent
in the nation. The last time he competed in such an event, he finished
"I feel blessed and gifted," he said.