BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — He electrified the gridiron and was a trailblazer on the track in high school.
But Cole Beck’s life as a two-sport Division I athlete at Virginia Tech has been a different story, but one whose ending is far from being written.
Beck, a 2018 graduate of Blacksburg High School, is currently in his second year at Virginia Tech as a dual sport athlete. Beck plays football for the Hokies in the fall and runs track during the winter and spring while trying to balance the academic workload of a college student.
“[It’s] stressful at sometimes, but other than that, it’s pretty enjoyable” Beck said. “The only thing different was the environment so I just had to get used to that.”
Beck’s coaches immediately noticed his adjustment to life as a division one dual sport student-athlete wouldn’t be easy.
“In the fall it was tough,” Virginia Tech sprinting coach Tim Vaught said. “It was tough to adjust to crossing over to two sports on this level.”
Hokies’ head football coach Justin Fuente explained that it’s tough academically in a student-athlete’s first year of school.
“He did a good job splitting his time,” Fuente said. “As his career continues to go, we’ll continue to see what it is, how he wants to handle all of that.”
During his first year at Tech, he had mixed results between the two sports. On the gridiron, Beck was forced to redshirt his freshman season. But on the track, he was running faster than he ever had before.
“I think once the light bulb popped on in his head ‘Oh I got it now, I understand what he’s saying.’ And he really start executing certain things at practice then things really start opening up for him in the meet,” Vaught said.
Beck finished ninth in the 60 meters as well as the 200 meters during the ACC Indoor championships and finished fourth in the 100 meters at the ACC Outdoor championships, helping the Hokies win team championships in both seasons.
His biggest impact was on the 4×100 meter relay team which ran in the NCAA Championships. Beck emphasizes that on a relay, teamwork is key.
“Every single day we come out here to practice and then going to track meets and spending time with each other and just hanging out and bonding,” Beck said. I mean right there is where we really get close.”
Although Beck is having success on the track, it has some downsides. Competing in the outdoor track season means Beck misses all of spring football practice.
“I haven’t really been around to bond with the guys,” Beck said. “I still worked on my craft and still have been getting stronger and faster so I wouldn’t miss a beat. Missing reps, missing time that’s a big part.”
This fall, Beck has been sidelined from football with a collarbone injury.
“He’s been hurt, so he hasn’t been practicing,” explained Fuente. “We’re anxious to get him back healthy and get him out there and see what he can do.”
Even with the success and setbacks, Beck says he has no regrets in choosing Virginia Tech.
“I’ve enjoyed of it honestly. I get to see my friends and my family and I’ve really enjoyed that staying close to home, staying grounded.”