Workout Wednesday with Bethany Graham
For most cross country runners there is a set of goals that everyone tries to achieve. The first is to win a state title, the second is to run a new PR... chasing that next boundary, and the third and hardest is making a foot locker team. John Champe senior, Bethany Graham has achieved all of those and now gets to focus on having the run of her life.
To get to San Diego Bethany had quite a long trip, longer than some could handle.
It all started back in 2017 when Bethany was just a sophomore.
For many, the sophomore year can be a very big year filled with PR's and improvements left and right. Athletes get used to the workload and realize their potential... that seems to have been the case with Bethany.
She began her sophomore campaign with an impressive effort at Great Meadow where she took down some pretty big names. She backed that performance up the next two weeks with wins at Pole Green and William & Mary. Unfortunately she faced injuries soon thereafter and the season was over just like that.
Next came her junior campaign and it started out just as dominant. She won Pole Green, LoCo Champs, and DCXC before rolling her ankle and causing her to drop out of the rest of the season's races. This meant she was to miss states yet again despite being arguably the best runner in the state.
Fast forward to track season, after quite a bit of time to focus on getting healthy, where she was ready for the races.
In just her first race at states she was able to walk down her competition and anchor John Champe to a 4x8 title, she followed that up with a win in the 3200 and a runner-up finish in the 1600. So she went from not making it to states to winning two state titles and one runner-up finish at her first indoor states.
Outdoors though she wanted to improve on that. She did too.
She toed the line in three races and won state titles in all three. She clocked a quick anchor split to win the 4x8, ran 10:29 in the 3200 and closed out her junior year with a 4:50 1600 title too.
That brings us to this year where she now has her third coach in three years in cross country and yet again enters the season in the best shape of her life.
Just like the previous two years the season started out strong. She took home wins at Great Meadow, Pole Green, and the very large and competitive Oatlands competition. This was the point in question, she had made it thru just three meets the previous two seasons and this fourth was going to be the test.
If this fourth meet, Octoberfest, was a test she would have received over 100%. She not only took home the title but she shattered the meet record by 15 seconds. She followed that up the followed week at Great American with a third place finish behind Tuohy that saw her set a new VA #1 time of 17:09.
Following that quick time she took two weeks off before returning to the XC course, this time at Third Battle. Here she won another title and closed out her high school regular season history. Her record throughout all of high school at invitationals ended up being 12-1-1 meaning she won 12 and finished second and third in one race each. That was in 16 starts with the other two finishes coming her freshman year where she finished 22nd and 8th in her first two XC races ever.
That brings us to this post-season where she has been nothing but dominant on the XC course. In just one short month she has won her district title, regional title, and state title while also finishing 3rd at Foot Locker south to earn herself a trip to San Diego.
In San Diego she will face off with some of the best competition our country has and in this race Bethany will really get to show us how good she is. In fact, some of her best races of the season have come on courses exactly like Balboa Park in San Diego.
The two that immediately come to mind are the Pole Green Park and Great Meadow (non-State) courses. At both of these courses she put down historically great times and broke both the course and meet record for VA athletes. The stronger one being Octoberfest. It was there after a two week hiatus that she returned for her best showing of the season.
This should be the case this weekend after two weeks off that Bethany returns and runs her best race of her career and when she does that do not be surprised if she is a lot better than just an All-American.