VILONIA — As a young child, Vilonia’s Bailey Sisson dreamed of running in college.
Now, she will have the opportunity.
Sisson made her decision official Monday that she’ll attend Arkansas State University to run cross country and track. Vilonia coach John Steward described Sisson as being a well-rounded student — a leader in sports as well as in other school activities and in church functions.
"She had a choice of schools to pick from," Steward said.
Pointing to a board in the lobby of VHS, Steward said Sisson’s name is listed beside six school records, including jumping 33-3 in the triple jump, running the 800 in 2:24.71, running the 1600 in 5:23.43, all in 2009, as well as other marks set in 2008 in track and cross country.
"ASU is lucky to be getting her," Steward said.
Sisson, who was also a member of the Lady Eagles basketball team, said that she consulted with her parents, visited the school and turned to a higher power before making a final decision to attend ASU.
"When I visited it, I liked the school," she said. "I prayed about it a lot, and I feel good now about going there."
Sisson said she has been running cross country and track since seventh grade, and she believes the experience has helped her to develop as a young adult.
"I’ve always loved the sport, and really it is my stress reliever," Sisson said.
Sisson’s mother also ran in high school at VHS. The mother and daughter talked about developing a deeper bonding through the sport. The two may be seen running together at 5 o’clock most mornings.
"I started running with my mother when I was younger, and I just like spending that time with her," Sisson said.
While she regards the time they run together as a time to laugh and share, Jana Sisson said she knows her daughter has worked hard to achieve the scholarship.
"I have seen her run when it was so cold her eyelashes have frozen over," Jana Sisson said. "She’s dedicated."
Sisson plans to major in communication disorders and become a speech pathologist after graduation.
"I really want to work with special education kids," she said. "I have helped coach Special Olympics basketball, and it just made me want to give more."