Ashburn (February 4, 2016) — Broad Run High School senior Stephanie Barry has made a commitment to continue her running career at St. Bonaventure University beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year.
“I never imagined that I would be able to run in college, let alone at the Division I level, and I feel very blessed to have been offered this opportunity. Before last year, I never considered running in college, and I mostly just did it for self-satisfaction and for the love of the sport,” the 5-foot-2 Barry said. “However, as I entered my spring track and field season of my junior year, I realized that running track and cross country was something that I just wasn’t ready to let go of after graduation. Running is not just my sport; it’s my lifestyle. It feels great to have the opportunity to continue to compete and to have the chance to further succeed as I enter this new phase of my life.”
While moving to Alleghany will be the next stage in her life, Barry is familiar with upstate New York as her dad attended St. Bonaventure, and she was born in Rochester.
“During my college search, I was interested in finding schools with a lower professor to student ratio in a small-town setting, and St. Bonaventure definitely fit the bill. During my senior year, I came in contact with the coach of the cross country and track teams and was invited to participate in an overnight campus visit and introduction to the team,” Barry said. “Seeing St. Bonaventure from a student’s eye, rather than ‘just the school my dad went to’ was what really did it for me. I had really good chemistry with the girls on the team, and everyone there was so kind and welcoming to me, not to mention that the school itself is beautiful.”
While familiarity and the opportunity to run at the collegiate level helped solidify her decision, Barry noted that St. Bonaventure’s academics alone would have persuaded her.
“Along with the friendly and comfortable small-town atmosphere, the university also has all of the programs I’m looking for in my pursuit to become a dentist,” Barry said. “I’m currently pursuing a position for a joint-degree program that St. Bonaventure has with a dental school in Florida and will also be participating in the honors program. I was comfortable that even if running didn’t work out, St. Bonaventure would still be one of my top choices for a college.”
Her Start of Something New
But luckily for Barry, the running did work out.
In the fall, Barry will join sixth-year cross country head coach Bob MacFarlane and the rest of the Division I Bonnies in trying to improve on a tough 2015 season.
“I was recruited to be on the team not only based on my times, but even more so that the coach saw great potential for me to improve and be able to compete at a higher level,” Barry said. “When I am part of the team next year I hope to contribute a positive attitude and good work ethic on and off the track as I chase faster times and an opportunity to increase my scholarship if I succeed.”
Along with joining the cross country team, Barry will compete with the inaugural distance track program at St. Bonaventure in 2016-2017 and will need to continue to work hard both on her running and in the classroom as she will be competing year round.
“I have always been a very motivated student-athlete – always pushing myself to meet or exceed my goals and expectations. I hope to carry this attitude and motivation with me to not only achieve success for myself, but to positively influence the habits of my future teammates as well,” Barry said. “As a captain on my high school cross country and track teams, I hope to also become a team leader during my years at St. Bonaventure.”
Her Final Spartan Season
A captain for the Broad Run Spartans, Barry turned in top-half times all fall placing 42nd at the Loudoun County Public Schools cross country championship (21:42) on September 30 before running to a 21st place finish at the Conference 14 cross country championship (21:35) on October 27.
Barry hopes to continue her success while helping the Spartans’ track and field team this spring with a goal of leading Broad Run to the VHSL 5A North region meet in the 4×400- and 4×800-meter relays.
“As far as expectations for the team, I think we have an outstanding group of athletes in all events and at every level. My team and their work ethic and potential continue to impress me, and I think Broad Run is poised for an outstanding and successful spring season,” Barry said. “As far as from a personal perspective, I have really stepped up in my winter conditioning this year, and I’m hoping that this hard work during the offseason will help me achieve greater success early-on and throughout the outdoor season.”
Prior to running her first elementary school physical fitness mile, Barry’s dad encouraged her to start getting into running shape, and she has not stopped running ever since.
“When he took me out for my first run we ran two miles, and I remember being very upset at him for not letting me bring a water bottle and for not letting me walk. But, it was these two things that have ended up playing the largest roles, mentally, on my journey as a runner,” Barry said. “When I finally ran the mile run at school, I remembered my dad’s words and did not stop to walk even through the most painful moments. I kept pushing and ended up being the first girl in my class to finish. I was so proud at that moment and that was when I began to feel the sense of self-achievement and satisfaction that running provides.
“I was very thankful for my dad’s guidance and advice, and after that I started to become a lot more involved with track and field and a more avid runner in general,” Barry said. “My dad continues to be my best motivator and No. 1 fan in all of my running endeavors.”