Q&A with Brandon Bethke
Q&A with Brandon Bethke
Brandon Bethke burst onto the running scene almost as fast as he racked up victories.
In two seasons, the senior from El Toro won two Orange County titles, a CIF-Southern Section title and a CIF State title in cross county. Last season in track, Bethke set a national record in the 2,000 meters, won county and CIF-SS titles in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters and a CIF-SS Masters title in the 1,600 en route to finishing second in the state in the event.
The two-time Register Cross County Runner of the Year had his 2005 track season and high school career cut short when he was diagnosed Monday with a benign tumor in his left leg, which caused a stress fracture. After visiting a specialist Thursday, Bethke, who has signed with Wisconsin, reflected on his career with the Register's Eugene W. Fields.
Q: What's the next step in your treatment?
A: We still don't know yet. The next time I see the specialist, we'll know. It was pretty much just looking over the stuff that we already had.
Q: What was your greatest achievement?
A: That's a tough one. I'd have to say either winning the (2004 CIF) state title in cross country or running the 4:09, 9:09 double I did at last season's CIF-SS (Division II) Finals track meet.
Q: How much of a part does your faith play in your life?
A: It's the biggest influence in my life. Hopefully what people see me as is not just a runner but as a Christian.
Q: How hard was it to deal with the popularity that came with your success?
A: It's tough both ways. Some people say, 'I wish I was that popular.' I'm just glad that people know what I stand for. I don't think it was too big of a deal because I love talking to other runners. I love just hanging out with people.
Q: Do you have any regrets?
A: No. I've had great support from my coaches, family and friends. Maybe some people would look at me being injured this season as a regret. I don't think so because I think it will make me stronger in the long run, whether or not I go on to become an awesome runner.
Q: How hard has it been to accept that your high school career likely is over?
A: It hasn't quite sunk in yet. But you get to move on. I don't necessarily look at it as a bad thing or a hindrance. I get to move on to this new thing called college. Obviously, I have a lot of people behind me. I look at it as new step that I get to take. It's a new experience.
Q: Have you thought of a major yet?
A: I'm thinking about majoring in kinesiology. That really applies with running and form, and I'd like to do that later sometime in my career. I'm very interested in the human body.
Q: How hard has it been to be a spectator at meets?
A: It gets to you, I'm not going to lie. I wish I was able to run at Arcadia. Watching those guys run brought out the competitiveness I've had since Day One when I was growing up playing baseball or T-ball. For me to be sidelined when I'm not severely injured or in a cast, it's even worse. I actually could, like, run. It's not beneficial for me and it's going to hurt me. But I've had great support to get me through it.
Q: What are you going to do with the sudden amount of free time you have?
A: I'm definitely going to be at all of the track meets my team is at. I'm going to try to absorb the Southern California sun before I head offto Wisconsin and enjoy my senior year. I'm also going to concentrate on the things that I've gotten sidetracked from, like being a little bit more involved in my church.
Q: Who do you think will win the county title in the 1,600 and 3,200?
A: That's hard. I'd have to say (Edison's) Joe Gatel. If he's fully healthy and running to his potential, I think he's going to be the guy to take it. Or maybe his teammate (Jayson Hayes). They're very talented athletes, and they have what it takes.
Contact the writer: (714) 932-1770 or firstname.lastname@example.org