The above photo taken by Ben Crawford from the Clovis Invitational Championship girls race. The winner of that race was Granite Bay senior, Alexandra Beitia who has proven to be one of the most improved runners in California this season. She won the Oakmont Invitational during late August and followed that up later in the season by recording the fastest time for a California runner at the Stanford Invitational. Her 5k time from that race of 17:16.9 ranks her as the fastest performer in the state in Division 2.
1) How and when did you get your start in running? What were your track PRs heading into high school? What other sports have you don aside from XC and TF?
I started running with my family in elementary school and we ran our first 5K when I was in fifth grade. When I headed into high school my personal record for the mile was six minutes and four seconds in track and my best time for the mile and a half in cross country was nine minutes and fifty-eight seconds. I played baseball and softball when I was younger with enthusiasm that came from hitting the ball with vigor or catching a tough throw that seemed impossible and dabbled in an unsuccessful endeavor with soccer.
2) Who are a big part of your support system when it comes to your running and racing?
I have been given immense support and love from my family- my mom, dad, and brother- who come out and yell at the top of their lungs and smile hugely on the sidelines for me. They are always there to hug me when I had a great race and pick me up when I am feeling low. They never pushed me to do this, but let me find my pathway on my own.
3) Following your junior TF season, did you take anytime off or did you turn your attention immediately to XC?
After my junior track and field season ended, I was mentally preparing myself and focusing on my upcoming cross country season.
4) Looking at the start of this season, what workout or race really gave you the confidence that this could be your best season to date?
My race at the Oakmont Invitational gave me the confidence that I could accomplish more than in my past three cross country seasons.
5) What do you feel has been your best race this season?
I can't pick between the seeded Clovis Invitational and seeded Stanford Invitational as being my favorite race of the season so far. Both races provided challenging competition and a high intensity atmosphere that led me to make huge strides.
6) What races are you most looking forward to as you look ahead to the rest of your season? Do you follow how some of your biggest competitors are doing when you don't race them?
The girls I was surrounded by were friendly and supportive creating a joyful experience. I am very excited for the SFL Championships, Sac-Joaquin Subsections, and Sac Joaquin Sections. They are all challenging and new opportunities for me to see how I will do for the remainder of this season.
7) Tell us a bit about your coaches and how they have helped you get to this point in your running career?
My coaches, Jeff Adkins and Carla Kehoe, have been very supportive of me and my running career this season. They have cheered me on and discussed strategies with me before every race.
8) Your times this year may have opened new doors for you as for as colleges. How much of a factor will running be when it comes to making your college decision?
I am very interested in running in college and it will be of the utmost importance for me to run as a collegiate athlete. I would love to surround myself with other girls who are eager to see where their future lies in cross country and track. I would like to be a part of a close-knit running group.
9) Favorite TF event? Favorite XC invitational? Favorite TF invitational?
I really enjoy the 3200 meters race in track and field and I can't wait to see how this track season goes. It would be wonderful to compete in the Sac Joaquin Divisionals and Masters meets this spring. I have always enjoyed the Stanford Invitational in cross country as I have been lucky enough to go every year I have been in high school. It is a familiar and comforting race that holds a lot of fond memories for me. In regards track, my favorite invitational is the Dublin Distance Fiesta. The strategic and meticulous placing of runners in each heat that have similar times allows for a challenge and great opportunity to PR and meet many talented runners outside of the Sierra Foothills League.
Thank you very much for your time Alexandra! AJC