HUBER HEIGHTS — When it comes to recognition, Ashley Barr may be too good for her own good.
Despite lengthy list of accomplishments on the track, the Troy High School junior has remained largely out of the spotlight — probably because she outruns it.
Barr is a track and field Swiss Army knife — she has so many tools at her disposal that sometimes Troy coach Kurt Snyder isn’t sure where to put her … but at the same time, he doesn’t know what he would ever do without her.
“She’s the kind of kid who will do anything you ask her to do,” Snyder said. “She’ll never complain. She trusts her coaches and will put in the work and do what she needs to do.”
Barr already is a two-time state qualifier, has helped the Trojans win the past two Division I district titles, has captured multiple Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division titles and, last week, was the lone Trojan to qualify for regionals in four events — the maximum allowed of any competitor in one meet.
Incredibly, though, Barr’s laundry list of accolades have remained largely under the radar — in part because her greatest success at the regional and state levels have come as a member of Trojan relay teams as opposed to individual events, and in part because she spent her first two years on the team alongside close friend Gracie Huffman, who frequently cast a long shadow en route to setting five school records and becoming the most-decorated sprinter in Troy High School history.
All of which seems incredibly unfair considering Barr’s own talents — but by the same token, none of which seems to be of much concern to Barr, who seems remarkably nonplussed at the thought of grabbing headlines or being the center of conversation.
In what has always been a sport in which the greatest glory comes from excelling as an individual, from Jesse Owens to Carl Lewis to Florence Griffith Joyner to Jackie Joyner-Keersee, Barr has been willing to put her own personal gain on the back burner to help turn the Trojans into one of the top teams — Troy has now won two district titles and six GWOC North titles in a row — in the Dayton area.
“I just want to do what’s going to help the team the most,” said Barr, who qualified for regionals this week in the open 400, the 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 relays. She’s the only member of the Troy team to appear on all three of the regional-qualifying sprint relay teams. “Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the team. I’m not going to run in a lot of open events if running the relays is going to make the team better.
“I’m going to run whatever gives the team the best chance to win. I’d probably get more attention if I ran more open events, but that doesn’t really to me. I just want to help the team.”
And because of her versatility, Barr does just that in every meet in which she competes. She seemingly is capable of running just about any distance at a high level for the Trojans. For the past two years, she’s run all three of the sprints — the 100, 200 and 400, along with their associated relays. This past fall, Snyder convinced her to run cross country — usually unheard of for a sprinter — and this spring, she’s dabbled in the 800.
“I was scared,” Barr said of the prospect of expanding into longer distances. “But I’m willing to try anything if it’s going to help the team.”
“No matter what event she’s running in, she’s one of the fastest kids on the team,” Snyder said. “She’s our second-fastest kid in the 100. She’s our fastest kid in the 400. She’s one of our fastest kids in the 200. It’s very nice to have that flexibility. We can run her in open events; we can run her in relays. Then we can move some other kids around and do different things with them.”
All of which suits Barr just fine.
“I just want to do whatever the team needs me to do,” she said.
Which, in the end, is more than good enough.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong