Division I Athletes in Key West

By: Gus Wilson

Football Coach John Hughes supporting Patrick Garnett during his signing to University of Central Florida. (Photo taken by Sarah Eckert)

While growing up, kids dream of becoming a professional athlete. During this 2019-2020 school year, two Key West High School (KWHS) athletes took a major step towards that dream. Patrick Barnett and Brendan Roney will be attending NCAA Division I colleges to play their respective sports in hopes of being recognized by a professional team.

Patrick Barnett will be attending and playing football for the University of Central Florida. On his signing day, December 20th 2019, Barnett was supported by many of his teammates as he took the next step towards his dream of playing in the National Football League. “I’ve been playing football since I moved to Florida at six years old,” he explained, “It was always a dream of mine to be on TV and play one day.” To achieve this goal, Barnett played football at KWHS for four years.

Kim and Bob Roney made sure to support their son Brendan by representing Boston College as he signed for baseball. (Photo taken by Sarah Eckert).

Another notable athlete coming out of Key West this year was baseball star Brendan Roney. “I’ve been playing [baseball] since I was three. My 8th grade year I started getting DI (Division I) interest,” Roney stated. On November 13th 2019, even before the baseball season started, Roney signed to play for Boston College. Signing day for him was one of the best days in his life, “My favorite part had to be when I was able to sign the paper and put the Boston College hat on, then I looked up and saw people clapping and cheering and it felt really good.”

While the high school has produced other athletes that have played at a high level in college, both Barnett and Roney have some advice for other athletes that want to play at a professional level. Barnett’s advice to younger athletes is, “To remember your goals and keep your priorities in check and try to outwork everybody around you.” Roney’s tip was similar, agreeing that working harder than others around you is important, as well as, “Strive to be the next step ahead whether it’s in the weight room, on the field, or especially in the classroom.” Patrick Barnett and Brendan Roney followed these ideals to achieve their goals set as early as their childhood.

Good luck to all graduates playing at the college level, including Barnett and Roney, who will continue their legacy and put Key West High School on the map.

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