Sheldon Beierman is no stranger to the state track meet.
The Boone Central/Newman Grove senior has spent enough time at the event in Omaha that the pressure just does not affect her.
"I think of it as just a regular meet," Beierman said last week at the district meet, where she qualified for state in three events.
Staying busy at state
While most athletes are fortunate to qualify for state one year and in just one event, Beierman is four-time state qualifier and has competed in three events each year.
"It's a really good feeling," she said. "I'm excited for next week."
Beierman has improved each season. As a freshman, she placed sixth in the 100 meter hurdles and the 4x400 team finished 12th in the relay. She missed the cut for the finals in 300 meter hurdles.
In her sophomore season, she placed seventh in the 100 meter hurdles, despite running two tenths of a second faster. She missed the cut in the 300 meter hurdles again, but helped the relay team improve by over five seconds to take seventh.
As a junior, Beierman finally earned a hat trick of medals. She once again knocked two tenths of a second off her 100 meter hurdle time, earning the silver medal. She was also able to chip away over a half second on her 300 meter hurdle time to place fourth. The relay team once again improved, finishing sixth after lowering their time by three seconds.
As a senior, Beierman took her abilities to another level, even adding an event to her credit. With Boone Central/Newman Grove graduating a three time state qualifier in the high jump, a void was left in the team's lineup. Beierman decided to fill in, hoping that her explosiveness on the track would translate to the high jump. It did.
Going in to the district meet, Beierman had the third best jump in Class B at 5'4", according to the Omaha World Herald. That mark tied her for the seventh best mark in the state, regardless of class.
High jump is not the only event that she was a top performer in, however. As should be expected after her past performances at state, Beierman boasts strong times in each hurdle event as well. In the 100 meter hurdles, the event she claims as a favorite of hers, she holds the second best time in Class B at 15.32. That time is good enough for ninth in the state, regardless of class.
The 300 hurdles, the event she has improved in more than any over her career, is the only event that Beierman does not rank in the top ten in the state, regardless of class. She is only missing that honor by a few tenths of a second. That is nothing for her to be ashamed of, however, as she still ranks fourth in Class B in the event.
After qualifying for state three times as a member of the 4x400 meter relay team, Beierman switched gears slightly, becoming a member of the schools 4x100 meter relay team. Beierman, along with fellow senior Celine Dunlap, junior Tessa Hedlund, and freshman Kelsey Thompson, improved consistently throughout the year, eventually earning a ticket to state at districts by winning the event by nearly a full second. When asked about the relay team's chances at the state meet, Beierman was positive.
"We have improved each week," she said. "We are hoping to just cut more time off and do well."
While she has no doubt excelled at track, Beierman has also shown that she is successful in many other areas of school, proving she is a true student-athlete.
Beierman has also participated, and excelled, in cross country. As a member of the Boone Central/Newman Grove cross country team, placed 36th at state as a freshman, seventh as a sophomore, and 13th as a junior. She helped lead the Cardinals to a state championship her junior year. She was injured her senior year, but the cross country team was able to repeat as champions anyway.
Despite all of her athletic accomplishments, a strong argument could be made that she has performed even better in life outside of sports.
Beierman was awarded the top academic female award for Boone Central high school this year. She also is set to graduate sixth in her class of 49 students.
She also has spent time as a member of 14 different clubs throughout her high school career. As a senior, Beierman is the president of the National Honor Society, Vice President of the Spanish club, the secretary of Boone Central's student council, and has spent time as both the treasurer and reporter for the school's FFA chapter. She also works a part time job in town.
Perhaps most impressive of all is Beierman's vision for her future. While many great student-athletes feel a need to continue their athletic careers as long as they can, potentially with hopes of making a career of their sport of choice, Beierman understands that she may be best served focusing on a different path for herself.
She has decided to attend the University of Nebraska in Lincoln next year and intends to major in animal science. While she is unsure of what she wants to do for a career, two options she is considering are attending veterinary school to become a veterinarian or becoming a veterinary sales representative. With such great athletic accomplishments, it would be understandable to wonder how she will find time for all of that while competing, but Beierman has decided not to do sports at the next level.
"I just want to focus on my studies," she says.
That is a very uncommon decision for many great young athletes and just shows the maturity the Beierman has.
Focusing on the future
Beierman has had a strong career for the Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals as both a student and an athlete. It is a career that she is proud of and speaks of fondly. She has excelled in track and looks to do so one more time on Friday in Omaha.
"I have a pretty good chance of winning the 100 hurdles," she said. "I hope to place in the high jump. I should place in the 300 hurdles too."
Beierman admits that she does has a soft spot for her relay teams. A member of three qualifying teams before, she is excited to see how her current team does this time around. She has always enjoyed the chance to be a member of the relay teams.
"I love the feeling of once you finish a relay, and how close your team is, and how happy you are," she says."It's like family."
While she clearly has high hopes and expectations for herself at Friday's meet at Omaha Burke High School, Sheldon Beierman can certainly say she has been successful, both as a student and an athlete, regardless of the outcome.