by JOSH SUMAN, Bellevue Reporter Staff Writer
posted Oct 25, 2013
When Interlake cross country coach looks at sophomore Luke Beauchamp, he sees growth.
While he was a solid varsity runner during his freshman season, making the KingCo and Sea-King District meets, Beauchamp has become the leader of the pack in 2013.
"His overall self-confidence is just at a higher level," Barquist said, noting he frequently sees such a change between an athlete's first and second year competing as a prep. "He is willing to push his limits where he was a little more conservative as a rookie."
Thus far, the growth has paid off in spades for the Saints.
Beauchamp owns first place finishes at the Salt Creek Invitational, where he won the 3 mile boys varsity race in 15 minutes, 45.34 seconds, the KingCo Jamboree and dual meets with Mount Si, Lake Washington and Liberty. At this week's 2A/3A KingCo Meet, he ran a personal best time of 16:11.67 to finish fifth and lead the Saints to their first cross country team championship in 24 years.
He has already shaved more than 30 seconds off his 5,000 meter time from his best mark last year and will surely improve upon the 23rd place finish at the KingCo meet and 35th at the Sea-King District meet.
His best time in a 5,000 meter race came in a recent win over Liberty when he ran 16:16 and at a meet with city rivals Sammamish and Bellevue, Beauchamp finished second to help his team to the narrow win over the Wolverines.
Those improvements, which have come after a freshman season where he was no higher than third in any race, owe in no small part to the meticulous and focused brand of study he has come to rely upon.
After watching himself during the track season on film his parents shot during races, Beauchamp began to critique and improve his stride from a new perspective. When he isn't training or racing, he spends time analyzing his stride compared to collegiate and professional runners, as well as other top preps.
"Their strides are perfect," he said of the top-level runners he studies on tape. "I'm just working on getting that form."
Barquist said he and the coaching staff were looking at 2013 as an opportunity to build the team back to KingCo and state contention after losing three of their top four runners from last year. But with the growth of Beauchamp and emergence of junior Alex Doran and seniors Kyle Van Draanen and Joseph Pooley, the Saints find themselves in the thick of the hunt to qualify the team to the state meet, something they were unable to do last year.
"It's been a very exciting season," Barquist said. "The reason we are still good is because of the guys who trained hard and decided to take on the responsibility of being in the top-five for this team."
Beauchamp recorded his best of the year so far against Liberty and finished second in a meet with Bellevue and Sammamish, just off the pace of the Wolverines' Kyle Pratt. He said a sub-16 minute race is not out of reach and added this year's training regiment has the Saints' best races still ahead of them.
Barquist agreed and said despite the tremendously difficult conference and district meets, believes his team could be one of the best in the state.
"I think there is huge potential," he said. "Our district is extremely tough, but we are improving weekly."
Beauchamp, Doran and Van Drannen all finished in the top-eight to win the KingCo title and Interlake will take a full complement of runners back to Lake Sammamish State Park Oct. 31 for the Sea-King District Meet, where again the top four teams and any individuals in the top-20 not from one of those teams earning a state berth in Pasco.