Katie Beam takes off with the baton during a Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Championship girls relay race on March 28 at First Baptist Academy. GREGG HARDY/CSI
Katie Beam really wants a dog … or more specifically, a golden cavadoodle.
You might think that being a straight-A student would be enough to get one.
It’s not. The standout runner for First Baptist Academy, who just finished eighth grade, must go the extra mile … or at least 400 to 800 meters.
You see, Beam made a deal with her parents: She’ll get a golden cavadoodle when she brings home either a state track and field or cross country championship. (Check out the Q&A below as Beam talks about “the deal.”)
How bad does Beam want a dog? Bad enough to run much of the Lions’ track and field schedule with a broken left wrist. Running the 3,200 meters for the first time, Beam suffered the injury when she was tripped on the opening lap of the season’s third meet. She ended up winning the race and, in the process, set a school record.
At regionals, her first race in eight weeks without either a cast or brace, Beam set a personal record in the 1,600 meters. At states, she finished 16th in the 1,600 and was part of FBA’s 10th-place 4×800 relay squad, which also featured big sister Sydney Beam, Morgan Forrer and Avery Erikson.
(Sydney Beam, also a standout runner for the Lions, just graduated, but not before finishing 17th at state in the 300-meter hurdles. Sydney and Katie’s brother, Hunter, runs for the FBA boys team and will be entering his sophomore year.)
Though Beam’s pursuit of a state title will have to wait at least a few months until the new cross country season ramps up, victories and record-breaking performances came in bunches during the 2018-19 school year.
Here are some of her highlights:
• First place (400, 800, 1,600, 4×400) at the GCAC Middle School Track Championship.
• Third place (1,500) and 14th place (4×400) at the FLYRA middle school state track championships. (Beam also qualified, but did not compete in the 400, 800 and 3,000.)
• Set school records in the 800, 1,600, 3,200, 4×800 and 5K. (The 1,600 and 4×800 records eclipsed marks she set in 2018.)
• FBA’s cross country MVP for the second consecutive year.
• Five first-place finishes in 10 cross country meets last season.
• Clocked the fastest cross country time of all Collier County girls varsity runners in 2018.
• After winning the Class 1A-District 8 championship, she was runner-up at regionals and finished 10th out of 186 runners at state while breaking her own school record for the third time this season.
Learn more about Katie Beam in this Q&A:
What was it like to run with a broken wrist? It hurt a lot. For the next 100 meters after I fell, I kind of held my arm because it was in pain, and had to catch up to the front pack. During the race, I tried to keep focused on my splits and not my arm, and my splits were consistent.
Favorite sport: cross country or track and field? Why? Cross country because the meets are shorter and you get a different experience with each meet.
Do you have a rival in either sport? Personally, I don’t have any rivals, but a friendly competitor is Jessica Edwards because our times are so close.
What do you like best about running for First Baptist? I enjoy the team spirit and the encouragement from coaches and teammates. They all give me the best experience with running, even though they can be really tough.
If you had to choose a field event to compete in, which one would it be? Long jump because I did it in elementary school.
Favorite cross country course? The ones I feel I did good at. I don’t really have a personal favorite knowing I’ve only done varsity cross country for two years.
What do you eat before and after a race? Before: Fruit (like berries and watermelon), Uncrustable sandwiches, and electrolyte drinks. After: Protein and fluids.
Are you superstitious? No.
What shoe brand(s) do you wear for cross country and track? Cross country: Asics trainers and Saucony spikes; Track: Asics trainers and Nike spikes.
What is your proudest accomplishment so far? Cross country: Placing at the state meet; Track: Placing at middle school championships.
Better weather to run in: hot or cold? Cold.
Which do you prefer: road trips or home races? Home races because the drive home is quicker.
Who is the fastest Beam in your house? All of the track runners (Sydney, Hunter and I) because we all are faster in our own events.
Better chance to medal? You in the hurdles or your sister Sydney in the mile? Sydney in the mile.
Have you run any half or full marathons yet? Not at all.
Some kids get a dog for Christmas or their birthday. Who came up with the deal that you get a dog if you win a state title? My mom.
Will your parents stick to the terms of the deal, or will they cave and get you the dog ahead of a state title? They will not at all cave.
Why a golden cavadoodle? I wanted a golden retriever, but they aren’t hypoallergenic so my mom found the cute golden cavadoodles.
Do you have a favorite Summer Olympic event? I enjoy the athletics, diving and gymnastics.
If you had to perform in a Winter Olympic event, which one would it be? Figure skating.
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