STEVENS POINT – Throughout her high school career, Hannah Beilke has demonstrated she can shine on the cross country course or the track.
Actually, you can add the hockey rink to the list, too.
Originally in the Tomorrow River school system, hockey was the reason Beilke, a senior, used open enrollment to attend Stevens Point Area Senior High to play for the co-op girls hockey program.
You won’t be hearing any complaints from SPASH cross country/track & field coach Mike Olson.
“Hannah is a consummate team athlete,” Olson said “She will do absolutely any event we ask her to and give it her best. When she first joined us, she was already a fierce competitor who would back down from no one.
“I have had the pleasure of coaching a lot of great athletes over my career and Hannah is one of them,” the coach added. “She has the ‘big three’ that all coaches look for — talent, commitment and attitude.”
She certainly has settled into her role as a key cog for the Panthers the past three years.
Beilke showed her worth by placing second in the 3,200 meters and third in the 1,600 — each time right behind teammate Mya Zajakowski — to help SPASH win the Wisconsin Valley Conference Indoor Meet on April 14.
Planning to compete in cross country and track at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse starting the fall, Beilke also was part of back-to-back state qualifying cross country teams, including the Division 1 state runner-up last fall.
How did you get involved in running and what about the sport appeals to you? My mom was a marathon runner and at a young age I would finish the last 200 meters with her. I love the competition and the feeling you have afterward of accomplishment.
Do you consider cross country/track more of an individual sport or team sport, and why? Parts of it are a little different because it’s an individual race because you have your own personal goals. Then there is the team part because your teammates help pull you through your race and you have the team on your mind.
How do you adapt from the cross country season to the track season when have to run shorter distances? (Cross country) definitely helps keep you legs in running shape and because you do long distances in cross country, it helps with endurance. Track is more speed oriented and you can break up a race based on laps. They’re very different and I like them both.
What has been the highlight of your track career up to this point? That would probably be my sophomore year when a made it to state in the 2-mile run. It was a tough sectional meet and it came down to me and one other girl (McKenzie Taggatz) and she was the reason I made it, by pushing me.
Who has been your role model growing up and what lesson have they taught you that will help you the rest of your life? Definitely my parents. They’re at all my sports and support me and encourage me with every sport. They taught me to keep staying with whatever you’re doing and give it your all.
If you could meet anyone in the history of the world, dead or alive, who would you choose and what would you want to find out about them? I would choose Walt Disney. I think the things he came up with are really cool. He did a lot of things with recycling and I would like to know if he knew at the time how much benefit his vision would end up having.
Tell us something about yourself the average person might not know about you: I’m into art. I’ve had at least one art class every year and it’s something I like to do on the side. My favorite part is probably drawing, I really like drawing. I like to draw figures, and we had to sketch animals, landscapes and buildings.
What is your greatest fear? Heights
Name something on your bucket list you absolutely have to get done before you turn 40: I hope to have a chance to go to England or at least over to Europe. I think it would be really pretty and the architecture would cool to see.
What can’t you live without? Friends and family.
How do you define happiness in your life? That would probably be when when I have an impact on somebody’s life and make other people happy.
What did being named one of nine student-athletes from central Wisconsin named a WIAA a scholar-athlete mean to you? It means a lot, I put a lot of hard work into school and sports, so it’s nice to be recognized for that. It’s a huge honor because I’ve looked up to those people.
Scott A. Williams can be reached at 715-345-2282. Find him on Twitter as @SPJScottWill
Sport: Track and Field
Family: Father, Tim; Mother, Sharon; Brothers, Jacob (16) and Cole (13); Sister, Ella (10)
Favorite subject: Science
Favorite food: Raspberries
Favorite cartoon character: Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh
Favorite super hero: Batman
Favorite all-time movie: “Pay it Forward”
Favorite TV show: “One Tree Hill”
Favorite track hero: No one really, although we were watching comeback stories in the final 200 meters in 800 races before a meet, but I can’t remember their name
Favorite pro athlete: Joe Pavelski
Favorite pro team: San Jose Sharks
Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: Instagram
Fantasy job/career: I hope to be a physical therapist
Favorite vacation spot: Our cabin in Hazelhurst
Favorite place in Stevens Point: Belts’ Soft Serve