Four seniors on the Saline High School girls track and field team, which placed second in the state last year, have committed to continue their academic and athletic pursuits at NCAA Division 1 colleges. On Feb. 13, family, friends and coaches gathered as Alexa Ross, Kennedy Beazley, Elianna Shwayder and Quenee' Dale participated in a ceremonial college signing ceremony in front of the athletics office at Saline High School. Ross, a sprinter, has committed to Miami of Ohio. Beazley, a distance runner, will compete at Michigan State University. Shwayder, also a distance and cross country runner, will continue at Harvard University. Dale, a hurdler and sprinter, has committed to Penn State.
Today we feature Kennedy Beazley, daughter of Barb Gildersleeve and Dave and Darcia Beazley.
Saline High School cross country and distance coach Mike Smith on Kennedy:
Even though Kennedy is going to be with us for only one year, she has made and is making a major impact on our program. She is without a doubt one of the best mid-distance/distance runners we have ever had here at Saline. From the time she first started to train with us during the summer, she has fit in easily and has been extremely coachable. She is very much a team player, and though she is extremely talented, she always is thinking of her teammates and is always very complimentary of their performances. Kennedy has many goals for the track season - both at the state and national level. With her work ethic and her great speed and endurance, she will make every effort to make those goals a reality. We take great pride in our distance running program at Saline, and Kennedy has given us even more reason to feel that pride.
I think Michigan State is lucky to have Kennedy. They saw the great potential in her, and I believe in the years to come they will be rewarded with her many outstanding performances. Kennedy has a rare combination of speed, endurance, and the desire to excel. With more experience coming at the college level and a higher level of competition, Kennedy will be given the opportunity to become the national caliber runner that I feel she can be. I think Kennedy will have an immediate and significant and long lasting impact on the MSU program.
College: Michigan State University
High school events: 4x800, 4x400, mile, 800m
Projected events in college: 4x800, 4x400, Distance Medley Relay, 1500, 800m
Scholarship: Yes, partial
Why you chose MSU: I chose Michigan State because it is where I felt most at home. The team was like a family, the coaches were great, the campus was beautiful, and there are just endless things I could say about how much I love it there. I knew when I left there that those coaches could help me obtain the high goals I have set for myself.
What the colleges told you about why they were interested in you: Coaches told me they love my running mechanics and that when I stepped to the line I would take every race with intensity. They loved that I wasn’t fearful of being in the front. Also they saw great potential in me continuing in college especially because I never ran a true season of cross-country.
What do you plan to study? I plan to study psychology
What are your career aspirations? I would love to be a sports psychologist
What was the highlight of your SHS athletic career? I have only been at SHS for my senior year, but my greatest highlight would be when our DMR hit the national qualifying time running a 12:14, which ties the indoor record!
How do you think the SHS program prepared you for the next step? Again as I said before I have only been here for my senior year, however the coaching they have done with me this fall has already made a tremendous difference in my performance. They helped me get the distance base I never had at Huron. I am already running times I did not run until outdoor states last year, so that says a lot about the coaches here at Saline.
When did you realize you might be college material? My freshman year when I started to receive letters from colleges.
How do you feel about getting the chance to compete in college? I love having the opportunity to compete in college. I never thought in eighth grade when I was out on the softball field that I would even run track. I am blessed and thankful to be able to compete at Michigan State. I love the running, I love to compete, and I love being apart of a team and I am so glad I do not have to give that up yet.
Which person/coach do you credit most for helping you develop your skills/abilities, and why? My coach from Huron Keri Kirk is by far the most influential person in my running success. She was tough but that is what I loved about her. Every practice I left feeling that I was challenged and got better everyday. She never let up, she has no fear, and she is the most determined person I know. The thing I love about her most is that under all that tough skin she has the biggest heart. Through this coaching she taught me how to never let up, run with no fear, and run with determination. With out her I would not be the runner I am today. I miss her a lot. The second most influential people to my running success are the Saline coaches. Although they have only been part of my running career a short period of time they have already showed me how dedicated they are not only to their team as a whole but also to each individual runner. I am very thankful to have them for this all-important senior year.
Stats 800m- 2:11, 400m- 59, 1600- 5:06
Honors: Freshman Year- State Champ in the 4x8, 4th in the 800m, 2nd in the 4x4. Junior Year- 5th in the 4x8, 6th in the 800 at 2:12
Academic honors: 3.6 or higher GPA all three years of high school.