EVANSTON — Karalyn Barton grew up in Surgar City, Idaho, and attended school in the Sugar-Salem school district. Her father sold tires and later designed tires to be used on snowcabs to groom trails and sold his own invention. Barton’s mother taught kindergarten from the Barton home as the district did not have kindgarten in the schools and later taught second grade for many years.
Barton was the only girl in her family, growing with five brothers. She played baseball and softball in her youth and believes her athletic brothers influenced her love of athletics.
“I definitely wanted to be doing what they were doing,” Barton said of her childhood activities. She played on a boys’ team and softball with other girls during the summer was huge within her church. She also played basketball with her brothers.
As she moved into high school Barton ran cross-country and played volleyball early on. She played basketball, as well, but an an injury cut one of her first seasons short. Barton also spent time in various church and school choirs and in the school’s drama productions that she said the entire school took part in as part of the cast or in backstage capacities.
“Sugar City was just such a fantastic place to grow up and you had the opportunity to do really anything because it was quite small.” Barton told the Herald.
Following high school, Barton attended Ricks College and ended up running track and cross-country, something she discovered she had a knack for, even though it was not an activity she paricularly enjoyed at the time.
“I wish I could remember the exact times, but I got down into the teens, like 5:16 or 5:18, something like that, for the mile,” she recalled.
Barton could beat all but one male in the mile at one point and time, and her combined girls and guys team went on to compete in and win the junior college nationals for Ricks College. Injuries again precluded Barton from competing but she fondly looks back on the experience.
“Even though I wasn’t able to compete due to a IT-band injury it was such a wonderful experience to be a part of a team that went on to win a national championship. It was so cool,” Barton said.
She began to appreciate running much more during her collegiate career and looks back in comical fashion at being so excited about having different shoes for training and competing and also having the luxury of an athletic trainer.
“Everything was numbered and it seems like I received new shoes every month,” Barton said.
“And having trainers who just took great care of us was simply something I had never experienced,” she added. Ricks College is also where she met her husband-to-be, Jared Barton. The two were set up on a date which Barton avowed, “didn’t go so well.”
“I really didn’t care if we weren’t going to have a second date, but we did, and that date did go very well,” Barton shared.
“We didn’t hit it off on that first date but the second date was fun. So, we dated through the summer, then got married and had six kids, right?” Barton joked.
Karalyn Barton had planned on attending BYU following her time at Ricks College but Jared wanted to attend Idaho Sate.
“That was when we decided to get married as to not try to have a long-distance relationship,” she added.
“I enrolled at Idaho Sate on the last day I could have,” Barton affirmed.
The yound couple and their growing family experienced a variety of locations following their time in Pocatello, where Jared completed his undergraduate studies. The family relocated to Seattle for Jared to attend medical school at the University of Washington. From there, it was on to Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire, where Dr. Barton completed his residency training and received his master’s degree in public health.
It’s somewhat surprising that the Bartons are the proud parents of five daughters and one son, when considering it was exactly the opposite for Karalyn Barton, growing up with five brothers.
The family’s time spent “back east” in New Hampshire, is where the Bartons’ awareness of how popular the sport of soccer was, and her appreciation for it, began.
The Herald’s coaching profile on Karalyn Barton will briefly touch upon she and her family’s life before moving back to the western part of the country and eventually to Evanston, in part two of the story. The interview itself was over an hour in length and chock full of memories and anecdotes.
Part two will focus on Barton embarking on a coaching career which began with AYSO soccer in Evanston and her rise to the EHS varsity head coaching position she currently holds and what she and the local soccer community would like to see happen for the future of the sport in Evanston.
Look for part two in future issue of the Herald.