As she found herself wandering through the middle school between classes, seventh grader Bethany Steiner heard an announcement come over the loudspeakers that would change her life forever. That announcement was information about the upcoming winter track season. Steiner went to the meeting, found it rather interesting, decided to give the sport a shot, and fell in love with it instantaneously.
One of the reasons Steiner decided to attend the meeting was that her mother had run track when she was in high school.
“My mom had first put the thought in my head and after my first meet, where I posted a decent time, I figured that I could do this,” Steiner said. “After that, my main goal was to beat my mother’s mile time.”
It didn’t take all that long for the young Steiner to eclipse her mother’s high school mile time. Last year, as an eighth grader, Steiner posted her personal best in the event with a time of 5:26.09 at the Middle School State Meet.
As a middle school athlete, Steiner could participate with the varsity team, but her times didn’t count, but then senior Jess O’Reilly saw something in the young runner and took her under her wing.
“Jess was a really fast runner, and whenever I needed help, I would look to her for guidance,” Steiner said. “I looked up to her and her work ethic. During races, I would chase her and try to stay as close as I could – she believed in me.”
By giving it everything that she had and putting in a full workout each and every time, Steiner found herself improving.
“We had some amazing girls on the team, especially the captains, that help set the standards,” she said. “Because of them, it is why I continue to work hard at improving and each time that I run I try to push myself to go a little faster and shave my times.”
Her coach sees the freshman as a very talented runner that has nowhere to go but up.
“Bethany is a naturally talented runner that works hard at practice. She is a very dedicated individual with lofty goals,” Millis Coach Laura Connor said. “She is the fastest miler on the team and consistently posts a time around 5:30. This is not typical of a freshman running that time.”
Of her lofty goals, which Connor believes she can accomplish with hard work, one is to qualify for Nationals in the mile by her senior year, while the other is to get her time below 5 minutes. After taking part in the team’s first meet of the season Steiner had found that she already qualified to take part in the State Meet in the mile.
“Making it to Nationals would mean a lot to me. Inside, I know that by my senior year I should be able to do it,” she said. “I feel that I have a wall to break through, and once I do that then I’ll be able to go faster and accomplish that goal.”
As an eighth grader last year, Steiner found herself only running the mile for Millis, but Connor’s looking to expand the freshman’s repertoire and have her try the 2-mile as well as the 4x4 relay this season.
Last year as an eighth grader Steiner ran the mile in the Tri-Valley League Meet and won, and although she finds it great to win a race, she believes there is no better feeling than lowering your personal best time. And while still only a freshman, Steiner has a lot of time to lower her times on a regular basis.