Carson Beyers has been driven. She has been driving the ball down the court in basketball and driving the pole into the box and vaulting into the sky. She has held school records in pole vault and has been a team leader in multiple sports. Now she is vaulting to Illinois College track.

On Thursday, Beyers signed to compete in NCAA Division III track and field at Illinois College. With her family and coaches at her side, she set her steps to continue sailing high.

“I chose Illinois College for their academic program,” Beyers said. “They have a 3 and 3 Program that finishes up at Washington University in St. Louis.”

The 3+3 WashU path is a path to earn three degrees through an articulation between Illinois College and Washington University in Saint Louis. The benefits for students choosing this path include earning three degrees: a bachelor’s degree in science from Illinois College, plus a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in engineering from WashU.

Through this path, WashU also offers a 50% reduced tuition adjustment in the first year, 55% the second year and 60% for the last year of study for students matriculating from Illinois College.

Beyers was near the top of her graduating class at Shelbyville High School (currently 2nd) She earned a full-tuition academic scholarship. She plans to go into engineering.

Beyers has already engineered quite a post season record. She qualified for the State Meet every year for seven years. She did not go in 6th grade. She qualified in 7th grade, 8th grade, as a freshman, a sophomore, and a junior. As a senior, she got corona’d

In 7th grade, she took 6th in the state at the IESA 7AA Meet, clearing 8 feet, 6 inches. In 8th grade, she placed 6th in State again, scaling 8 feet, 9 inches.

As a freshman, Beyers placed 4th at the Shelbyville Sectional with a qualifying height of 9 feet, 1 inch. At the state prelims, she cleared 9 feet, 6 inches.

As a sophomore, Beyers was crowned Sullivan Sectional champion, going 9 feet, 6 inches. At the state prelims she cleared her career-best, 9 feet, 9 inches and qualified as a state finalist. She placed 12th in the state (Class A).

As a junior, Beyers placed 3rd at sectional, qualifying with a height of 9 feet, even. In the state prelims, Beyers went 9 feet, 6 inches.

Beyers already has a spot at Illinois College on the track team. They graduated a female vaulters three years ago and haven’t had one since. Beyers and one other female vaulter are coming in next season to jump start the event once again.

“I like their coach,” Beyers said. “I went to a track camp with their pole vault coach (Dirk Doehring). And, I like the head coach (Jason Haynes).

Doehring has been with Illinois College five years and specializes in sprints, horizontal jumps, hurdles and pole vault. He has coached athletes who have set 13 school records, including Shelbyville’s Brett Peifer, the Most Outstanding Performers at the 2018 MWC Oudoor Championships.

Another name from Shelby County in the IC record books is Megan Stringer from Central A&M. She holds the school record in the heptathlon and the pentathlon.

Beyers career best 9-9 is already equal to the 3rd best on the Illinois College indoor and outdoor track school record book.

“The goal to place at the conference meet in college is 10 feet,” Beyers said. “I’m going to get to jump and compete as a freshman. The coach said my run is consistent and my plant is consistent and strong. We will work on my invert at the top of the vault in college.”

In addition to her individual achievements, she has been a team leader.

“Carson has been a great leader for the other girls,” said Jason Palmer, Shelbyville High School varsity girls track coach. “She was instrumental in getting us second place as a team at sectionals. She has raised the bar.

“She is versatile, willing to do help in any way she can. Most vaulters just want to vault. She was also a track athlete. She ran the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the 400 meters, the 4x1, 4x2, and 4x4. She is a model for the younger athletes.”

Despoite an event that takes place 10 feet off the ground, Beyers says she has never been afraid, despite falling. She doesn’t think about it. She said she also doesn’t focus on the moment when she clears the bar.

“There are so many steps to think about on the way,” Beyers said. “I notice sometimes when I’ve cleared it. Sometimes, I don’t think at all.”

Beyers has been appreciative of the support she has received along the way.

“My dad (Matt Beyers) was a pole vaulter and he has been encouraging me,” Carson said. “(Coach) Levi (Pruemer) started me out in junior high and Max (Beyers, her younger brother) has been pushing me. I want to thank Coach Palmer and Coach (Chris) Mosley for keeping me going all four years.”

Beyers also appreciates her family support, especially staying around in the dark so many time as she finished up meets.

John Curtis can be reached at john.curtis@shelbyvilledailyunion.com

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