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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Lander Barton continues family legacy at Brighton High School

Jan 25, 2021 09:52AM ● By Tavia Dutson

By Tavia Dutson | [email protected]

When the Deseret News announced that Brighton High School junior Lander Barton was the Region 6 MVP for the 2020 football season, he was busy topping charts on the basketball court.

For the past three years, Barton has been wrapping up a successful football season and launching right into basketball. While most high school basketball players have been training all summer, Barton gives himself a small break before switching gears in November.

“I try to give myself a week or two off just to rest my body and recover after football season,” Barton said.

Barton leads the Bengals in both total points scored and rebounds. He is ranked as one of the top rebounders in the state for this season. Although Barton is thankful for the recognition he’s gotten on the court so far, he is far from satisfied.

 With 160 points through 10 games, Barton’s points per game is currently 16. By the end of the season, he hopes to increase his average to 20 ppg. After talking to Barton ahead of their region rivalry game versus the Olympus Titans, he went on to score 30 points, already chipping away at that lofty goal.

What is most impressive about Barton is his ability to compete at such a high level in both football and basketball. He is a perennial standout on Brighton’s football and basketball teams, both of which consistently rank in the top 10 of the state.

Those who are familiar with Brighton athletics are likely unsurprised to see this high level of success from Barton. Lander is the youngest of four siblings, all who have been standouts in Brighton athletics.

Following in the footsteps of parents Mikki Kane-Barton and Paul Barton, Lander’s three older siblings have gone on to play Division 1 sports at the University of Utah. Older brothers Cody and Jackson were drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft after successful collegiate careers.

Although his brothers are spread across the country (Cody playing for the Seattle Seahawks and Jackson for the New York Giants), the family stays closer than ever. Every spring as they finish up their professional seasons and Lander wraps up basketball, the family comes back to Cottonwood Heights to train.

“When my brothers come back from the league I can work out and train with them,” Barton said. “My brother Cody plays the same position and so he is always giving me tips to help perfect my craft.”

Barton admits that having a family of successful athletes has been advantageous but comes with pressure to live up to his family name.

“It’s good to be able to look up to them but it’s kind of intimidating,” Barton said. “In my mind, I’d like to be better than them. It will be pretty tough, so it’s a lot of pressure but it’s a good challenge.”

It looks as if Barton is more than up to that challenge. After his sophomore football season, he was offered a full athletic scholarship to play football at the University of Utah. Since then, he has racked up offers including full scholarships to seven other Pac-12 schools and most recently, an offer from Notre Dame, the fourth ranked team in the country.

The University of Utah should have a leg up on all the other programs trying to woo Lander as his family’s legacy there is strong. Parents Paul and Mikki left their mark at the U in the early ’90s when Paul played baseball and Mikki excelled in both basketball and volleyball. Jackson and Cody graduated from the U in 2019 and sister Dani Barton-Drews is currently setting records as an All American for the Utes on the volleyball court.

Although Barton admits that football is his true passion, he loves having the opportunity to suit up for Brighton basketball. Not only does it keep him in shape, but it provides him with a different group of kids to get close to.

“On the football team there’s a wide range and a variety of people on the team. Basketball is the same kids every year, so it’s a smaller close-knit group,” Barton said.

As Barton finishes the 2021 basketball season, he looks to repeat last year’s region title and make a run at a state championship. As more and more football athletes graduate early to get a head start at college training, this season may be the last time we see a Barton playing basketball for the Bengals.

After the basketball season, you can find Lander and his siblings staying close the best way they know how—working out together. All the Barton’s swear by Pilates as their favorite way to stay in shape, especially when navigating multiple sports with very different training regimens.

“All my siblings go to Jenny Carr for Pilates. In football season we work on more rigid motion and stability and then for basketball she helps me work on fluidity and explosion,” Barton said.

Although they are still trying to convince dad Paul to join them at Pilates, the Barton’s close family relationships have helped them to excel in athletics. If there is one thing that comes before sports to the Barton’s, it’s family.