LANSING | Illiana Christian coach Deb Top has developed a new pre-race routine.
At least the last few meets.
"I make sure Alexa's shoes are on tight and I double-knot them," Top
Beezhold lost one of her shoes during the race and ran with one shoe on and one shoe off recently at the Tinley Park Invitational. She still won the race. A few other races, they became untied and were loose the whole race. She still won those races, too.
"I guess I didn't realize or it didn't bother me that I ran with no shoe," Beezhold said. "It wasn't that bad. Running on the rocks hurt a little bit, but at least I didn't get injured."
Top said that is a tribute to Beezhold's focus on running and her competitiveness.
"We don't want her to run shoeless, but that shows how tough Alexa is," Top said. "When she gets out there, she is focused and she knows when to turn it up as she gets to the finish line."
She has drawn interest from several schools, but she has not committed. Beezhold is one of the top runners in Class 2A. She and the Vikings compete in today's Class 2A Oak Forest Regional at Midlothian Meadows.
"We have gained confidence as a team each year," Beezhold said. "Coach Top and the Illiana coaching staff has really worked with us to make us better runners."
Last year, Beezhold won the Class 2A Illiana Christian Regional and was 15th overall at the state meet (17:41). The Vikings were 10th as a team.
"We want to get back down (to Peoria) and hopefully do better," Beezhold said. "We have to run well in regionals and sectionals. We are in a very tough sectional."
If Illiana advances as a team today, it will go to the Wheaton Academy Sectional, which includes ranked teams Glenbard South, Montini, Lemont, Rosary and Riverside-Brookfield. She said running in a good program like Illiana's is a challenge, but a welcome one.
"We know it is not going to be easy, but we also welcome a challenge," Beezhold said. "We have a pretty good team and we expect to compete hard in every race and use our God-given ability."