Ashley Van Vleet has been a state meet regular at 400 meters, on relays, and in the high jump. Photo by Alan Versaw.
Ashley Van Vleet's Best Marks:
400 Meters: 58.23
800 Meters: 2:18.66
High Jump: 5-5
Tell us about what made the decision for Idaho State.
My choice to attend Idaho State was due to a variety of different things. I've grown up in Colorado my entire life and I've never found a place that can compare to the beauty we have in this amazing state. When I went to visit Idaho State I felt so comfortable. It was so breathtaking to see a place so beautiful in the middle of farm land. I mean it doesn't compare to Colorado, but it came close. I felt so at home when I went there. Even though Idaho state is a big school I saw the community everywhere I went. There were Bengal signs in every window. I've grown up with a loving community that would do anything for the students at Paonia High School and I could feel the communities love for their students at Idaho State. I've also competed alongside many coaches who not only cared about my performance, but also cared about me as a person. My coaches here would do anything on the face of the planet for me and seeing a coaching staff who legitimately cared about their athletes beyond just competition made me feel welcome and appreciated. The Idaho State coaching staff was beyond comparison. Lastly, education plays a huge role in choosing a school. I'm not going to college to be an athletic student, I'm going to college to be a student athlete. I needed a school that could fit all of my educational needs and ensure to me that I will be able to continue on in life after college with a well fitting job.
Do you have a clear idea of a major yet or is that still in the works?
I intend to go into pre-health or pre-dentistry at Idaho State.
I know all sorts of people want to know what's in the water in Paonia. You've been part of something special all through high school. How did this all get started, and what's so special about Paonia track?
I have been beyond blessed to be a part of such a legacy at Paonia High School. This whole adventure began with one small track team of girls with one huge goal. I've never seen a team so determined to be successful. I've watched so many amazing women come through the Lady Eagles Track team and every single one leaves something great behind. Every one who comes through doesnt just compete for themselves they compete for each other. We're a big family. You wouldn't believe the hard work that these ladies put in to be successful. Not only are they hard workers on the track, they're hard workers in the classroom and in the weight room. Not every school can say that they have a team of girls in the weight room on their own time at least 5 days of the week. We always strive to get better. You could be at the top of the rankings and the question you're asked every day is how did you get better today? There's always room for improvement for the Lady Eagles Track team.
You certainly have a long list of highlights to choose from, but is there any one highlight that stands out above the others from your high school track and field experience?
My overall favorite highlight that stands out would have to be the 4×400 at state my freshmen year. We had to take first to win the team state championship. I anchored the race and was extremely nervous. I ran as hard as I could and as I rounded that last corner my whole team was lined up against the fence yelling at me to run. My team mates screamed as I finished the last straight away. As I crossed the finish line it was extremely exciting cause not only had we won the team state championship by one point we had also beat the state record for the 4×400 relay!! That is my overall favorite highlight from all three years of my track and field career.
Has it been all track and field, or have there been other sports for you in high school as well?
In high school I've participated in three sports every year. I play basketball, volleyball, and run track. I feel like this has keyed my success on the track but also taken away from it. I've been so blessed to be a part of so many different amazing opportunities on so many different teams.
What is something you really want to get accomplished in track this spring?
This spring in track I really would like to accomplish another team title. Yes, there are other accomplishments I'm going to strive for as well, but overall I would like our fourth team title.