Southmoreland's Beistel sets school record in cross country
As a young runner on the Southmoreland girls cross country team, Riley Beistel didn't know what she would be capable of accomplishing during her freshman season.
As it turns out, Beistel has accomplished plenty, and she still has several goals left to achieve.
Beistel, 14, has finished first in all but one of the Scotties' dual meet races this season. And in the process of her efforts, she broke a record that stood for 16 years.
In Southmoreland's last dual meet of the season against Greensburg Central Catholic, Beistel finished with a time of 21:55, besting the Southmoreland girls school record formerly held by Jennifer Anthony (22:14). Anthony's record stood since 1996.
“I was really excited,” Beistel said. “I didn't know if I would be able to break it this year or not. I'm happy about it. I didn't know how I was doing (in the race), but when I came to the gate for the final lap, people were screaming for me, and I knew I had to pick it up.”
According to Southmoreland cross country coach Don Gilpin, Beistel's success is no accident.
“She works hard, and she is very dedicated,” Gilpin said.
With her name in the school record book, the season has already been a success for Beistel. But, she isn't resting on past performances.
“I just want to keep improving my times each meet,” Beistel said. “I want to make states, if not this year, then next year.”
Beistel and her teammates will compete in the Freedom Invitational on Wednesday before they travel to Cooper's Lake for the WPIAL championships on Oct. 25.
“I would like to see her qualify for states, but it will be tough,” Gilpin said, explaining that this year, only three teams and 15 individuals from Class AA will earn a spot at the state meet Nov. 3 in Hershey. “But she works at it, and she's running well.”
Beistel is having success thanks to a basic formula.
“I don't miss practice, and I just do my best,” Beistel said.
Aside from cross country, Beistel also enjoys softball and track. She's not sure which sport she will compete in during the spring.
In addition to sports, Beistel also enjoys music. She has been playing the piano since she was 8. She also plays the saxophone in concert band.
Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3534.