BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — In his first two years as a Hokie, Cole Beck juggled two sports: track and football.
Prior to the 2020 football season, he decided to give up his time on the gridiron to focus solely on track. And now the decision is paying off.
On Wednesday night, Cole Beck will compete in the semifinals of the 100 meter dash at the NCAA championships in Eugene, Oregon, marking his first ever appearance at the national outdoor meet.
The Blacksburg high school product has a come a long way in his time at Tech. While he was juggling being on two teams, Bech was injured heading into his sophomore football season in 2019.
Then he decided to give up the sport of football altogether last year during the pandemic.
And it’s a decision he certainly does not regret.
“The preparation for this year has been through the roof,” Beck said. “I’ve been doing everything I can on and off the track to succeed so I’m excited to go out there with the guys.”
Beck has been posting fast times this outdoor season in the 100 meter dash, winning the school’s first ever ACC title before breaking the school record at the NCAA East preliminary meet with a time of 10.10 seconds.
Still as he trains in the shadow of Lane Stadium, he’s reminded of what he had to give up.
“It’s probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” Beck said. “Through quarantine, since there was a lot of down time, I just sat with myself and it’s not that I don’t love football, I love football a lot. It’s definitely my dream and definitely my passion for sure. I ran track to get better for football. But I never gave myself the opportunity to succeed in one.”
Virginia Tech sprints coach Tim Vaught can relate to Beck’s experience very well.
“The decision that he’s making is one of the hardest decisions that I’ve ever made because I was a two-sport athlete in college and I had to make a decision when I get injured to walk away from football,” Vaught said.
While Vaught played no role in Beck’s decision, he’s certainly glad he stuck with track.
“I knew that if he focused in, he’s gonna be very, very good,” Vaught said.
Beck will compete in both the 100 meters and the 4×400-meter relay, with both preliminary heats set for Wednesday night. He’ll be one of ten Hokies competing in individual events this week at the newly renovated Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
“I don’t want him to overthink it,” Vaught said. “The 100 is a very technical race. You think it’s over. I want him to do the exact same thing he’s been doing the last three weeks.”