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Multi-sport star Van Vleet signs track letter

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Photo by Eric Goold Senior Ashley Van Vleet was all smiles when she signed a Letter of Intent to attend Idaho State University. At left are track coaches Brent McRae and Scott Rienks. Next in line is Ashley, and parents Dave and Tracy Van Vleet. Van Vleet

Three-time state champion Ashley Van Vleet signed a Letter of Intent to run track at Idaho State University last Thursday in the commons at Paonia High School.

Also a standout volleyball and basketball player, Van Vleet went with her heart and decided to compete in track at the next level.

"It's really what I love to do," Van Vleet said after accepting congratulations from family, coaches and friends gathered to celebrate her signing. "I love to run and I kind of get a combination, I can play intramurals, I can run. I'm doing multi-events in track, not just sticking to one, so I'm real excited about that."

The Bengals of Idaho State compete in the Division I Big Sky Conference. The school is in Pocatello, Idaho. Van Vleet earned a scholarship to attend the school.

"I took an official visit with them and loved the college. It's in a beautiful area," Van Vleet said. "They have great coaches and great teams."

Van Vleet continues to impress all of her coaches in Paonia.

"I'm extremely proud of her," coach Scott Rienks said. "I've been fortunate to work with her in both basketball and track, and this will be my fourth year working with her. She's very coachable and hard working."

It's likely Van Vleet could have gone on to play any of the three sports she excels at had she chosen to do so.

"She has the ability that she could have gone to college for basketball and volleyball, too," Rienks said. "But track is going to be where she will flourish because she's so talented on multiple levels."

Van Vleet wrapped up her prep volleyball career last weekend at the state championship tournament in Denver and now will hit the hardwood for her senior basketball campaign.

After that she'll finish out her stellar prep career in track as the Eagles go for their fourth consecutive state title.

"Of course I'm going to miss Paonia," Van Vleet said. "I love the coaches and the people. This place is home and all of these people and supporters are family to me, so I'm definitely going to miss it. But I'll come back."

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