Bryn Mawr >> Baldwin School’s talented twin sisters Hailey and Myla Barnett received many heartfelt accolades from the more than 100 people in attendance at their National Letter of Intent signing ceremony Wednesday afternoon.
While more than two dozen students, coaches and faculty came up to the podium to speak of what Hailey and Myla meant to them and to Baldwin, two of the speakers drew particular attention from the audience – the twins’ parents, former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Fred Barnett, and Jacqueline Barnett, former secretary of education for the City of Philadelphia.
Both Hailey and Myla are headed to University of Virginia – Hailey for rowing, and Myla for lacrosse – but they are not identical personalities. Just ask their father.
“When Hailey came out first [at birth], she was so quiet, I had to ask the doctor if she was OK, and he said, ‘She’s fine,’ said Fred. “And then Myla came out screaming and kicking, a totally different person. But they’re both special athletes and students – it’s been absolutely amazing to see both of them develop over the years.”
Jacquie said, “These two girls have put up so much work and dedication, driving to Rhode Island or Richmond (Va.) for a competition while their friends were hanging out, going skiing, it just shows what the process of commitment, dedication and hard work can do. I’m just over the moon about this.”
Hailey has had a distinguished rowing career at Baldwin, finishing third last spring in the City Championships with her JV Quad boat; then earning a silver medal in the SRAA Nationals with her JV Quad teammates. Hailey also has run cross-country for Baldwin for three years, and served as team captain her junior year.
“Rowing just clicked with me since seventh grade, I’ve always had a passion for nature and I like the solitude, of being one with the boat,” said Hailey. “My rowing coach at Baldwin, Gabby Cutler, has been such a big help to me in my rowing career, and my mom helped me through all the [recruiting process] – she was my rock. My parents have helped me so much.
“Myla committed to University of Virginia as a sophomore, and I felt a connection to Virginia too – my mom and grandmom are from there. I met the rowing coach at Virginia [Kevin Sauer], and he’s an amazing coach.”
Hailey is interested in veterinary science (“I’ve always had a love for animals,” she said) and is thinking of majoring in biology at University of Virginia.
Myla will be co-captain of the Baldwin lacrosse team this spring, and was a 2015 Under Armour Lacrosse All-American, second team All-Inter-Ac (2016) and second team All-Main Line (2017). In indoor track, she holds the school record in the 800-meter run, was all-state her junior year, and is a member of the school record relay teams in the 4×200, 4×400, 4×800 and distance medley relay. Myla has been a Baldwin Athletic Association member since 2016, and played soccer and volleyball for the Polar Bears as well.
“The University of Virginia is a dream school for me,” said Myla, who is thinking of majoring in political science or economics and eventually going on to law school. “To see this type of outpouring from our peers at Baldwin today at the ceremony means the world to me. I have so many emotions today – and it’s great that I can spend the next four years with my sister at Virginia.”
Myla also paid tribute to Jen Duckenfield of Ultimate Lacrosse, who was one of the speakers at the ceremony: “I started playing lacrosse in seventh grade, and when I started club lacrosse in eighth grade Coach Duck was such a big help – she was so amazing, helping me [hone] my skills.”
“I was fortunate to coach Myla for two years in soccer,” said Baldwin soccer head coach and assistant athletic director Adrian Cox. “What was most impressive was her role as a team member – very spirited and energetic. Myla and Hailey are the epitome of the multi-sport athlete – they have that drive, passion and fire.”
Baldwin athletic director Deb Surgi said, “The Barnett twins have been transformational for the Baldwin athletic program. The way they collaborate with their teams, their work ethic and desire to improve – I hope we’ve given them as much as they’ve given to us.”