Senior Gustavus women’s cross country runner Brooke Beskau capped off her career Saturday afternoon with a 119th place finish out of 277 runners at the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championships held in Winneconne, Wis. The Hastings, Minn. native went out in style, notching a personal record 22:25.98 in the 6K race.
“My expectations were just to have fun and throw it all out there for the last race of my career, so that was pretty cool,” Beskau said. “I felt really good going into the race and it was a really good atmosphere, very exciting, just truly happy to be there.”
Beskau ran the race with consistency, hitting the one-mile mark in 5:53, the two-mile mark in 6:06 and the three-mile mark in the same time – 6:06.
“She went out just absolutely solid as a rock,” Heah Coach Dale Bahr said. “She didn’t slow down, the first mile always goes out fast and she settled in and kept picking people off, being steady like Brooke is, it was a great race to watch. And when she got done the first thing she said to me was, ‘that was so much fun, I wish that race would be longer because I enjoyed every part of that race.’ She never had a mental letdown and she stayed focused the whole time. She really enjoyed her experience.”
Last season, Beskau was red-shirted and did not participate due to injury. Sitting on the sidelines for an entire season provided additional motivation to finish her career in the best possible way.
“Lots of up and downs throughout my time at Gustavus, but this year was definitely a highlight of my entire career because of staying healthy and the team was amazing,” Beskau acknowledged. “They were so supportive, just tons of fun to be around and obviously this was the best performance year for myself, and the team did very well, too. Overall, it was just an awesome season and it was a good way to end the five years, which were actually kind of a struggle, but overall it was great.”
Beskau will graduate in December and will begin looking for teaching jobs, but while her cross country career at Gustavus may be complete, she plans on continuing competitive distance racing by taking part in marathons in the near future.
“I’m graduating in December and then I’ll be looking for subbing positions, teaching jobs and things like that,” Beskau stated. “And I’m hoping to get into the marathon pretty quick here, so I’m going to start training and maybe do one this spring or summer, probably the Fargo marathon or Grandma’s in Duluth. More than likely I’ll hit up a few shorter races along the way, but it’ll probably be one of those two this spring.”
Taking the podium at the 2011 Division III Women’s Cross Country Championships was Chiara Del Piccolo of Williams in a time of 20:52.08. UW-Oshkosh’s Christy Cazzola took second in 20:57.70 and Annie Lydens of Pomona-Pitzer took third in 21:02.84. Washington University claimed the team championship with 70 points, Middlebury took second with 111 and Williams finished third with 153.