Crumpacker: Small Town Roots For Big Time Barta

March 6, 2018

By John Crumpacker, #WCChoops Columnist     

It was a clean sweep for Jill Barta and her Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Zags won the West Coast Conference regular season title and Barta was named Player of the Year. Then they, and she, did it again in the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas with a 79-71 victory over San Diego in the championship game. Barta was named MVP of the tourney.

Barta poured in 32 points against the Toreros, 20 of them in a second half in which the Zags built a comfortable lead that withstood a late rally by USD.

WCC Sports caught up with Barta after the game and dribbled 5 Questions to the MVP.

Q: What was the feeling in the locker room after the game, knowing you have an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament?

A: It’s super satisfying. We work hard in practice every day. To walk away with an automatic bid is what everyone wants. I’m excited to see who we play and where we go. We’re super excited. We don’t have to wait until Monday (when the field is announced). We already have that bid.

Q: You’re from a small town in Montana, Fairfield. Exactly how small is it?

A: I don’t really know – five hundred or a thousand. A lot of people live on farms. The highway runs through it. We have no stoplight in town. You can either choose to get off or not.

Q: How many students were at Fairfield High School?

A: One hundred and seven. There were 27 in my class. We all knew each other and what we did.

Q: You grew up on your family’s farm. How many acres on the spread?

A: Too many. We grow wheat and barley. We have cattle. A small hobby farm is what my dad says. I usually harvest, drive a combine. That’s why I’m such a good driver.

Q: How are you on a horse?

A: I’m pretty good on a horse, heck yeah. Bareback and all. My horse is Chex, like the cereal. He’s my go-to. He’s a thoroughbred. He can get out and go. He’s fun.



John Crumpacker spent more than three decades working at the San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle. During his career he has covered the full gamut of sports from prep to professionals. Most recently, Crumpacker served as the beat writer for Cal through the end of the 2013-14 season. In addition to covering 10 Olympic Games, Crumpacker served as the beat writer for the San Francisco 49ers. He is a two-time winner of the Track & Field Writers of America annual writing award and has several APSE Top 10 writing awards. Crumpacker has been covering #WCChoops since the 2014-15 season.


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