Brian Beach knows that when he puts on his cross country uniform, it tells his competitors what a Big 10 school and UNL has to offer.
The freshman from Overland Park, KS, said wearing the Scarlet “N” makes him a little nervous, excited and proud all at once.
He said he understands the pressure because he knows his opponents are thinking “if I can beat a guy from Nebraska, that’s impressive.”
He said he loves it regardless of the pressure.
Beach wasn’t impressed with his stats for his first season, but his coach said he is just adjusting to the college level.
He ran a 22:30 8k, which equates to about 6.2 miles. He did not consider this at the Division One level or a statistic that would make an impact.
In high school cross country, Beach was used to running 3.1 miles. The races are now about five miles.
This change along with an illness that took him out of practice have pushed Beach to challenge himself and make new and different strides.
“It was a humbling time,” he said. “I had a fear of saying something I can’t back up.”
Beach said he has never boasted about his abilities since he did not think of himself as good at sports until he found running.
“Growing up I loved sports,” he said. “I just wasn’t good at them.”
He said he had been looking at smaller schools when head cross country coach David Harris called and said he should take an official visit.
Harris said Beach matched up well with what he looks for in athletic recruits.
“I look for guys who are disciplined because distance running is a lot of hard work,” Harris said. “Brian is a good kid, a hard worker, not afraid to put in the miles and a good student.”
He said he was not disappointed in Beach’s performance this year.
“I don’t fault his efforts at all,” Harris said. “This will push him to show how hungry he is to get better and compete for one of those (Big 10) spots.”
Beach’s teammate and roommate Andrew Englert said they have both gone through a difficult transition season but they are able to stay competitive.
“It was a big jump for both of us,” Englert said.
He said having a teammate as a roommate pushes them both a bit more.
While they go back and forth in who wins their races, Englert said there is a clear winner in the room.
To relax, they compete in fantasy football and Beach has perfected his team.
“He’s kicking my butt,” Englert said.
But it’s all done in fun and the men said they are excited to continue running and improving their times together.