Beam goes into higher gear to reach podium twice

J. Patrick Eaken

University of Findlay-bound Wood-more senior track athlete Ava Beam pushed herself to the limit at the Division III state track meet.

When all was said and done, she had taken a nearly out-of-the-running 4x800 relay team and got them on the podium, and she also raced with the state’s best distance runners and took third in the 3200.

“She had an incredible year. Ava did amazing,” Woodmore coach James McMahon said. “What a way to finish her career down in Columbus on the podium. We were super proud of her.”

Beam and Woodmore sophomore Olivia Vogelpohl are the only two girls athletes from the 10 girls track teams in the Eastern Maumee Bay community to place in two events at state.

In the 3200, she was part of a trio that led the pack with Mapleton freshman Caleigh Richards placing first in 11:07.23, Rittman sophomore Pyper Gibson second in 11:11.14 and Beam third in 11:16.13.

McMahon says Beam had to run a solid race to stay with that group.

“It was because you are going against the best of the best from each region, and she was in a pack of three and ran an incredible race in the heat, and we are super proud of her and I know she was pumped up about it, getting on the podium,” McMahon said. 

“She was patient on the first mile (1600) and then after that is when separation usually occurs in the two-mile, but after the race she told us she was trying to keep up with that at first. Every time that she (Richards) would get a kick or push, then Ava would try to match that so she could stay with that group. She was patient the first mile and she was kind of focused on that one girl because she had the best seed time coming in and we knew that.”

Beam said, “It was super cool, hanging out with the front of the pack but I knew that I could do it. It was definitely a tough race with the heat but I’m super proud of how I finished. So, I knew the girls in the front and which girls I had to hang with. So, my goal was to make a move when they made a move and to stick with them the whole race.”

Beam and Vogelpohl were joined by freshmen Emma Hammer and Caydie Buchanan on the 4x800 relay team that took eighth in 9:47.63, passing teams from Tinora, Archbold, McDonald and Marion Pleasant to make the podium. As the anchor, Beam went into another gear to make what seemed impossible happen.

“She did incredible. She anchored our 4x800 which was in 13th place when she got the baton and she got them all the way back to eighth,” McMahon said. “She had a really good split — it was her season best, about 2:17. She did an amazing job in the relay.”

Beam added, “So I actually tied my 800 split PR, but I knew we were in 13th at the time I first got the baton, so I thought, ‘Well, I don’t know if there is any way I can get us to eighth,’ so I stopped counting. When I crossed the finish line, I had no idea what place we were in. So, it was exciting to hear that we made the podium.”

Beam won the 3200 regional championship in Tiffin, finishing in 11:05.58, nearly two seconds ahead of second place Carey junior Sarah Reinhart (11:07.08). Earlier this year, she was named Northern Buckeye Conference Athlete of the Year and also Athlete of the Meet after the league meet. She is the 2021 Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Girls Track Athlete of the Year.

Vogelpohl placed eighth at the state meet in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:20.21, less than 12 seconds off the state meet record time of 2:08.81 set by champion Allison Johnson, a senior from Mount Gilead, who broke a 12-year-old record.






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