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University runner Ian Barville keeps senior season alive by organizing his own competitive meets

UPDATED: Sun., May 31, 2020

Area high school and college runners take off at Ferris High School. (Ian Barville / Courtesy)
Area high school and college runners take off at Ferris High School. (Ian Barville / Courtesy)

Murphy’s Law is an appropriate epigram for University High runner Ian Barville’s senior season.

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

A concussion forced Barville to miss his final high school cross country season last fall, months after a flu derailed a return to the 4A state track and field meet.

He was primed to be one of the region’s top 800-meter runners this spring, but the coronavirus pandemic canceled his final try at a state medal.

The brother of Eastern Washington University runner and two-time high school regional champion Issac Barville, Ian hoped a breakout senior campaign would also boost his college recruitment.

“This season was going to be really important and special to me,” Barville said. “Then everything happened.”

He found a way to exhibit the fruits of offseason labor.

Barville created and assembled two competitive meets the past two weekends, attracting some of the region’s finest runners in his age group to Spokane.

Fourteen male athletes and several state cross country and track champions showed up to West Valley High School’s track last weekend for an event dubbed The Eastside 1,600-meter Classic, which featured some of the Greater Spokane League’s best talent throughout Washington.

Parents and friends helped run the non-WIAA event, which included multimedia production of the camera-timed event and a play-by-play call of the race on YouTube.

Johan Correa, who starred at Kennewick and ran at Community Colleges of Spokane this past season, won the Eastside Classic with a time of 4 minutes, 14.4 seconds.

He was followed by another Kamiakin star and state champion, Isaac Teeples (4:15.7), Wenatchee’s Jarred Barnes (4:16.4), Lewis and Clark senior and recent Gonzaga signee Wil Smith (4:16.9) and Chiawana’s Austin Bachman (4:21).

Barville, who finished seventh (4:27.2), initially reached out to Barnes when he thought of the idea of organizing races to help supplant what would have otherwise been regional and state meets.

“I started out reaching out to good friends I thought would want to race,” Barville said. “But then after I talked to (Barnes), he said if he was going to make the trip all the way to Spokane to run, we might as well try and get some of the best runners in the state.”

When standouts from the competitive Tri-Cities schools agreed, it immediately boosted the competition.

“Everyone was itching to do something,” Barnes said. “It was cool that (Barville) put in the work to make it happen.”

He wasn’t done.

Ten runners met at Ferris High on Friday for an 800-meter run featuring some of the GSL’s best in the event, as well as Northwest Christian (Lacey, Wash.) standout Garrett McSheffrey, who placed third at the 2B state meet last year.

Barville won the race with a personal-best 1:54.07, followed by University distance standout Jacob Easton (1:55.6), University’s Travis Hicks (1:56.7), McSheffrey (157.1) and Mt. Spokane’s Ben Sonneland (1:58.3).

“It was great to show what we could do this season with our times,” Barville said. “And it was a great way to showcase ourselves to (college) coaches.”

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