The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

April 27, 2013

Harold Raker's column on high school track & field: Which way will he go?

Selinsgrove baseball coach Brent Beiler had one of those "wow" moments with his son, Brody, when the latter was in fourth grade.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on one's view point, that moment had nothing at all to do with the sport that the Beilers have shared since Brody could pick up a baseball.

Beiler recalled this week that his son came home from school and told him that, in gym class, he had run a 7-minute mile.

"I thought 'wow, I'm not sure I can do that,'" coach Beiler recalled this week.

So, even at that age, and even if they didn't know it, the writing was on the wall.

In seventh grade, having competed in numerous local running events, and getting his dad, the baseball coach, to run with him, Brody was looking at some tough choices.

"All my life I've always loved to run. In gym class, we would do these physical fitness tests and I would always try to finish top two or top one. I just tried to do my best, and win.

He said, "After that, my gym teacher said 'you should try out for cross-country or track."

So Brody did cross country last fall, choosing that over football, and liked it. "So I knew there was going to be an issue between track and baseball in ninth grade.

"I kept doing cross country and thought 'well, I'll get to (choose between baseball and track) when I get there.' "

With coach Beiler and boys track coach Mark McGuire working together, Brody has been able to enjoy both passions this spring.

But it hasn't been easy.

Often when his junior varsity baseball teammates are finished with practice and heading out for a pizza or to hang out with friends, Brody's work is just getting started.

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