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Missoula Loyola's Isabelle Berry capping decorated career before joining hometown Montana Grizzlies

Posted at 7:47 PM, May 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-04 22:17:12-04

MISSOULA — Isabelle Berry had a 2023 to remember.

Last May, the then-junior played a pivotal role in the Missoula Loyola girls track and field program bringing home the Class B state title as Berry won three individual events in the 100-meter dash, 200, and 100 hurdles.

The highlights didn't end there, as toward the end of the year Berry also made her commitment to the University of Montana to continue her career in the sport at the next level.

"When I went on my visit with the Griz, it really felt like they wanted me and I wanted them," Berry said. "And so that was nice to feel not like I was chasing after something, but more like they wanted me to come there. And they wanted me to run for them and I wanted to run for them and stay home and run for Missoula and having that Missoula community behind me, staying where all my, like, teammates and my coaches and my family are. I just really feel supported by the Missoula community and I'm excited to run here."

That success led to her opportunity at Montana in a sport she knew early in high school she would want to pursue at the next level.

But it didn't feel real until the Grizzlies came calling.

"At the end of the visit, when the coach, Lindsey Hall, kind of laid out my offer for me, I was like, this is real, they want me to come and they want me to run for them," Berry said. "And they want me on the team. And so I think that's when it was really real for me was when they were like, here's your offer, like let us know when, you know, you can commit.

"I've always loved track. I love being outside, I loved running with my teammates, my coaches. And it's always been such a positive experience. And when I went on that visit, it was also such a positive experience that I was like, this is something that I really do want to do, and I want to pursue."

Winning state last year showed the four-time individual state champ — she's the two-time reigning 200 champ in Class B — how much it meant to bring home a team title and trophy to her hometown.

Seeing that opportunity to stay in Missoula and be surrounded by the community she grew up was something she couldn't pass up.

"It was so special, and going and just talking to colleges and knowing that like almost like I had that success to back me up," Berry said. "You know, it was there, I had all my teammates, all my coaches rooting for me, especially coming off of that state title. I just saw all the support that I was getting from people and that made my college decision that much easier knowing that I had all these people here to support me."

Berry is now in the midst of her senior year, where she again ranks among the state's bests in the sprints and hurdles.

So before donning the maroon and silver next year, she's focused on getting the Breakers back-to-back team championships and capping her decorated career in a big way for a program that's meant the world to her.

"Just knowing like making this team a positive place because I felt like it was a positive place for me for the last four years," Berry said. "And so I really want to make sure that other people get that same experience on the track team in case they too want to take their track career to the next level."