'Focus on what my next step is' Jazmin Barry's quest for Track and Field glory

Mar. 16—DICKINSON — The snow may still be falling across the Western Edge, but track and field athletes are warming up for the 2023 season. Jazmin Barry, who last year placed in four events at the North Dakota class A state meet, including two silver medals, is aiming to push the envelope as an athlete and as a person.

As many track runners know, the feeling of their hearts pumping like pistons on an engine when lined up in the crouched position and the starter pistol pointed to the sky is a moment, before the race, when the mental battle has already been won or lost.

For Dickinson High School three-sport junior athlete Jazmin Barry the contest is with herself alone, to see how fast — and how far — she can go.

"My motivation is to do better than I did last year and that is what is going to keep me in my game mode," Barry said. "Last year, I was very motivated to beat a certain person and that is what kept me so competitive, but this year I want to focus on beating myself. I want to be better than last year, I want to be a better athlete and focus on what my next step is instead of someone else's."

Last year's state meet ended with her earning second place in 300 hurdles, with a 45.33 finish and in long jump (18-04.25). She also competed in the 200 and 400 meter dash, taking fourth in both. Finishing the 200 meter at 25.16 setting a school record.

Jazmin Barry has been blessed with long and powerful legs but has also had the incredible insight of her father, Trevor Barry, an internationally decorated competitor who earned a World Championships Bronze medal in 2011 and competed in the 2012 and 2016 summer Olympics.

Trevor Barry is Bahamian and was a crucial member of Dickinson State University track and field team that won NAIA championships from 2004 — 2006. He was inducted into the 2022 NAIA Hall of Fame and now coaches for Minnesota State University Moorhead, previously coaching for North Dakota State.

In hopes to follow in her father's footsteps, making her own mark, Jazmin Barry wishes to one day be coached by her father and see herself compete on the international level.

"My dad was definitely a big part of me wanting to be on the track team, being that he was very successful in it," Barry said. "He is probably my biggest role model and just gets me through it all . . . I will always call my dad before any meet and he gives me a coaching speech about everything I need to do."

Barry's support doesn't stop there, she proudly boasts her mother, siblings and grandparents as her No. 1 supporters. Her fellow DHS athletes' competitive nature keeps her fired up — while her coaches keep her humble.

"[My family] show up to every track meet, every game, they will buy me stuff so I have [Dickinson High School apparel]. They always lift me up when I am down and they always get me in my game mode," Barry said. "I think I have gained a lot of friendships and a lot of people who I look up to . . . they are all very supportive . . . I think without certain people there I wouldn't be able to compete as well sometimes, because they are always on their A game. They are always super hyped."

Track is Barry's favorite sport out of her three: volleyball, basketball and track and field. Though in team sports, she proves to be a true team player, the individual aspect is what motivates her to push her boundaries.

"[Track] is a very good outlet for me," Barry said. "You get out there and you get to do it for you. And if you mess up you are not letting no one else down, if you do well you know you made yourself feel good at the end of the day."

The mental battle and stress that comes in waves for any athlete can sometimes be overwhelming, even with a strong support system and natural abilities. However, Barry ultimately gives all her success and challenges to God before every race.

"Mentally it can be stressful and sometimes you feel a lot of pressure to do well. So what I do all the time to get through that stress is I will always pray," Barry said. "I give it all to God and he takes it. If it happens then I know it was his will and if it doesn't then that is not what is meant to happen that day, or even for the rest of my life."

The first race is three weeks away, on Apr. 6, but hearts are already beginning to rumble. For Jazmin Barry she is going all out in contesting for her absolute victory and excited for the experience, no matter what happens on the track.

"I don't want to pray for someone else's downfall. I made a lot of friends at the state track meet last year from other teams," Barry said. "Your heart is always racing, so when you get to that starting line you just go. "