College sports: Barry takes fourth in javelin at D-II nationals

For someone who says he hasn’t mastered the form of his event, Western Washington University junior Alex Barry is making it look quite natural.

The 2015 Sequim High School grad earned First Team All-American honors and finished fourth at the NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships in Charlotte, NC, in late May with a personal best javelin throw of 224 feet, 4 inches.

Barry was seeded 10th heading into his second appearance at the national meet; he placed 14th as a freshman in 2016.

Barry broke his personal best with his first, second and final throws of the meet held May 24-26, tallying marks of 222-5, 223-2 and finally 224-4.

Defending D-II champ Nils Fischer, a sophomore at Angelo State, won this year’s javelin title with a 246-foot 8-inch effort.

Barry’s previous best was a 215-foot, 4-inch throw set earlier in the season at the Greater Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) finals.

“I was very happy That I got all my season goals,” Barry said. “I felt like I was prepared really well for the end of the season. I had a game plan and knew what I wanted to do.”

He moved from No. 8 to No. 5 on the GNAC all-time top-10 list with Saturday’s performance and remains No. 2 on the WWU top-10 list, the same spot his previous personal best held entering the national championships.

“They had good days, especially Alex,” head coach Pee Wee Halsell said of the WWU competitors. “Alex really lit it up with besting his PR three times. The competition was fun to see, so that was good and he competed well.”

A kinesiology major at Western, Barry also earned all-conference, all-regional, all-GNAC academic honors — maintaining a 3.48 grade-point-average — and WWU’s Male Athlete of the Year for track and field. Western teammate Jasmine McMullin, a 2013 Sequim High graduate, was named a WWU Female Scholar Athlete of the Year; she was also named a First Team All-American after placing fourth at the 2018 NCAA Division II Indoor Championships.

Barry said he has plenty of goals to reach next year as a senior at WWU.

“I would like to throw WWU’s school record (Slater Hirst, 230-5, set in 2015); ideally, I’d like to throw far enough to compete at the international level,” Barry said.

A multi-sport star at Sequim High, Barry was an Olympic League MVP in basketball and a standout on the track, earning the Washington state 2A javelin title and helping Sequim’s 4×400 relay team win a title in 2015.

Being a single-discipline, single-sport athlete doesn’t bother the former SHS standout, who said he enjoys learning more about the javelin in his college years.

“It’s actually really interesting and fun; I have yet to completely master the form,” Barry said. “It’s nice to have good competition (at postseason meets) and I also have very good teammates.”

Barry said his career goals haven’t changed since he started at WWU: he plans to apply next fall for graduate school and become a pediatric physical therapist.