Woodmore’s Ava Beam beats odds, wins four events

Mark Griffin

Woodmore sophomore Ava Beam woke up still fighting a cold last Saturday morning prior to the Northern Buckeye Conference meet at Eastwood.
A few sniffles, however, couldn’t stop her from winning three individual events and anchoring the Wildcats’ 4x800 relay to a first place finish.
“She’s a high-quality athlete, a gamer,” Woodmore coach Jim McMahon said. “She shows up on meet day and you can count on her to perform at a high level. We as coaches are super proud of her. She consistently performs at a high level, and she’s been that way all season.”
Beam won the 800 in 2:30.34, took first in the 1600 in (5:31.10) and still had enough energy to win the 3200 (12:26.86) in her final event of the day. She and senior teammates Nora LaMunyon and Maddie Thatcher and sophomore Olivia Thatcher started off the meet by winning the 4x800 relay in 10:30.77.
“I was pretty happy with my performance,” Beam said. “I wasn’t expecting that to happen at all. With nobody pushing me, I think I had decent times running all four events.”
Beam admitted that she was “pretty tired” after winning the 3200, her final event of the day.
“I just tried to do my best,” she said. “I was worried for how the day would turn out. Friday night I was telling myself that whatever happens happens and I can’t be disappointed if I don’t set a PR. You have to work with what you have. My split was not what it usually is in the relay. The 4x800, I like the team aspect of it. You all have to depend on each other and it motivates me to run faster, because I know there’s that pressure on me to perform well.”
The 5-foot-9 Beam also won the 1600 and 3200 at last year’s NBC meet and advanced to the regional meet in both events. Beam, Olivia Thatcher and LaMunyon were on the winning 4x800 relay at last year’s conference meet, then went on to take 16th place at the Division III state meet.
“Ava has had a really good season,” McMahon said. “I’m not surprised by her performance. She shows up at practice and works hard and does everything we ask of her. She is very respectful, a hard worker, and she has a great attitude. She’s a quality person who does the right thing and she is a very well-rounded student-athlete.”
Beam also runs cross country and was a point guard on the Wildcats’ basketball team this season. Her offseason running workouts vary depending on the time of year; her parents, Julie and Ryan, sometimes bike alongside her during her training runs.
“During the summer I do a workout the coaches put together for us,” Beam said. “I run at different parks and I run in Elmore. I train all summer for cross country. I play basketball, so I don’t do lot of running for track (season). I will go run three or four miles on Sundays. I just feel like I have to, to be ready for track to start again.”
Beam and Olivia Thatcher are the strength of Woodmore’s long-distance group, McMahon said. He added that Beam and Thatcher often go back and forth as the team’s best runners in the 3200, but Beam is the Wildcats’ top performer in the 800 and 1600.
“It’s friendly, but underneath the surface they’re competitors,” McMahon said. “They push each other in practice. It’s good, healthy competition.”
Olivia Thatcher took second (12:42.21) behind Beam in the 3200 at the NBC meet, and she also placed third in the 1600 and fourth in the 800.
“We’re best friends and we push each other,” Beam said. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t affect us. We just want each other to become better runners.”
Beam said she has the top time in the 3200 heading into this week’s D-III district meet at Sandusky Perkins, and her goal is to return to the state meet in at least two events.
“I’m hoping to make it in the 4x800 and a personal event,” she said. “I plan on running the mile, two-mile and 4x800 at districts, and I plan on focusing on the 4x800 and two-mile at regionals. I really want to get back to state.”


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