I had the chance to catch up with Lexie this month. Think you will enjoy our chat.
Name: Lexie BeckEvents: 100H, 400H, long jump, relaysYears at UO: 1979-83Ellen Devlin: How did you get involved with track and field?Lexie Beck: When I was 6 years old I began with the Timberettes, a new club team of sorts, in Kalispell, MT. Our coaches were Flathead Valley Community Collage track athletes. I was skinny with long legs so they steered me toward middle distance. I ran the 400, which I hated, sprinted, and jumped both long and high. I started hurdling as a freshman in high school but we only ran 80 and 110 yard races.ED: What did you enjoy the most about being an athlete?LB: During my athletic career I think I’d have to say that I most enjoyed competing, and I loved winning!ED: Why did you come to the University of Oregon?LB: I saw the list of times they were looking for and immediately wrote them off because of how fast they were. My dad call Tom Heinonan and set up a try out of sorts so I came and hurdled for them. The hurdles were higher, and the spacing was different but they told us if I came to school there I’d make the track team. After that, they went back to the top of my want-to-go-there list.ED: Did you see male and female athletes being treated differently by the fans, community, or media during your time as an athlete?LB: I didn’t really see that female athletes were treated differently. I came from a small town so the fact that we got the attention we got made me feel pretty special. The fans were knowledgeable and supported all the athletes on the track, and I never felt slighted. The media was very supportive as well, and I looked forward to the Sunday paper after meets.The University was really my whole world so I didn’t have a lot of contact with the community, other than a couple of running stores and restaurants. We were able to eat pre-meetmeals at the Spaghetti Factory, and the staff was great.ED: Tell us about your proudest moment as an athlete.LB: I don’t really have one specific moment. What made me the proudest was that sometimes when the meet was going to be close, I was asked to compete in extra events, and often the 4×4 relay, in order to score the points necessary for a team victory.ED: Tell us about the sacrifices you had to make to be a great athlete.LB: Nothing was ever seen as much of a sacrifice if it had to do with track. It was so much of who I was, and what I did. I remember once having to make a choice. Would I study for my finals or would I meet Coach Stream and work on my long jump? I went to long jump.ED: Tell us about your role models.LB: My dad was my role model for “how to live your life,” but it turns out his advice had a lot to with athletics. “Always be willing to work hard for what you want” is number one. My coaches (Joe McKay, Flathead High School, and Mark Stream, U of O) taught me to be a team player, set goals, and win/lose graciously.ED: You coach athletes now, how is track and field different now compared to your time as an athlete?LB: Most kids don’t have the same work ethic that I remember. Also, most athletes want to specialize in one or two events. Some expect immediate results, but are not willing to put in the required work. But I coach because I love the sport and hope to help kids experience some of what I did in my youth. My goal is also to instill sound hurdling techniques in the hurdlers that go on to run at either of our Kalispell high schools.ED: Tell us about being a student athlete. What were the challenges? What were the rewards?LB: Any challenges I faced were well worth it.ED: Who did you most admire when you were an athlete? Why?LB: I admired several Oregon athletes who were just really fine people, and also won consistently, like Alberto Salazar, Leann Warren, and Sally Harmon. I alsoadmired my coach, Mark Stream for his positive attitude and sincere desire for us to do our best, both athletically, and personally.
About my life today:
After teaching in Boise for 8 years, I moved back to Kalispell, MT, my home town. I work as a special education para educator, and coach three sports. I coach x-country, basketball, and track (hurdles) at the middle school here. It surprised me that out of the three, my favorite is basketball. But last year we had 120 girls and boys out for track, and at one meet we had 40 hurdlers! Teaching that many 7th and 8th graders to hurdle was a challenge, but coaching ten 7th grade girls basketball players was just plain fun.