New kid on the block

Oct 052004
Authors: Laura Epple

Vital Stats:

Name: Mekana Denai Barnes

Position: Middle Blocker

Year: Freshman

Major: Undecided

Fun Fact: Oldest of five children – three younger brothers and

one younger sister

If Webster had a definition for middle blocker in the

dictionary, it would emphasize one who could dominate the net by

intimidating hitters with acrobatic stuffs, by hammering down quick

sets and finding defensive weak links with strategically placed


This position is all about reading the court and the opposing

attackers, a challenge for even the most experienced of players.

Nonetheless, watch a practice at Moby Arena and it is clear that

freshman Mekana Barnes has a natural intuition at this position.

She covers the net and reads players like she has been around that

block a time or two before.

This former Thunder Ridge Grizzly phenomenon totaled 184 blocks

last year, leading all 5A players. Additionally, in two instances,

Barnes racked up 15 stuffs in a single match to hang tough against

opponents. Barnes describes herself as “athletic, strong and

competitive,” but there is more to her than just volleyball


Barnes thrives on music, listening to rap and R&B. She also

enjoys watching music videos on TV if she ever has time to channel


Barnes does not really advocate a set hang out in Ft. Collins

… yet. She just likes to escape the sound of squeaking tennis

shoes on gym floors for a while – a sound that grates on her nerves

like nails on a chalkboard. Hanging out with friends and grabbing

some Chinese food (her grub of choice) is Barnes’ idea of the right


On the fashion front, Barnes holds a specific pair of sweats in

particularly high regard.

“People probably think it’s really gross, but I wash them and

wear them all the time,” Barnes said.

The Pasadena-born blocker also sports a belly button ring and

loves Cabo San Lucas, but probably will not get any other piercings

and does not have any desire to get a tattoo.

Speaking of ink, Barnes’ favorite book is “A Prayer for Owen

Meany” by John Iriving, a literary work steeped in religious

mysticism and symbolism. The class she looks most forward to

attending is her health and wellness course, taught by Patricia


“She will just say anything and I think it is really funny,”

Barnes said of Cost.

In the future, Barnes may put her intuitive powers and ability

to read people to use in some type of health profession. Until

then, she will have plenty of time to figure out her concrete

future aspirations as she serves as a strong building block on the

volleyball court, taking each day step by step.

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