Katie Beyer Day
State champion swimmer honored at Warren Area HS
Katie Beyer may have been more comfortable winning the state championship in the 200-yard freestyle event last month than she was being congratulated for it in front of students and adults.
The Warren Area High School junior was being honored at a ceremony held during school on Thursday in the Keller Auditorium at Warren Area High School. Speakers included Jeff White, athletic director; Russ Beyer, Katie’s father and coach; Superintendent Amy Stewart; Mayor Maurice Cashman; and Emma Ruhlman, Varsity Club president.
Beyer was the first-ever Warren swimmer to win a PIAA championship when she finished in a school-record 1:53.07 at the Class 2A Championships last month at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg.
She didn’t even speak that long — one minute, 31 seconds — in thanking everyone she could think of.
“I cannot thank you all enough for the endless amount of support,” said Katie. “I would like to thank the school district, all my teachers, principals and Mr. White for all of the recognition and support. I am thankful for all of my teammates and friends for always cheering me on and pushing me to strive to be the best, but most importantly, I would like to thank my parents and also my coaches for the endless amount of support and preparation for my successful season. I would not be where I am today without them.”
That’s Katie. She’s nervous speaking in front of large groups, and is humble to boot.
Except maybe when she’s in the pool.
Coach Beyer told the crowd of Katie’s confidence and hard work in winning the District 10 2A title, and then prior to states.
“Katie looked at me and said, ‘What happens if I win?'” said Coach Beyer. “I looked (at her) like a deer in headlights … (and told her) you have a really good chance at this.”
Cashman declared April 1, 2021 as Katie Beyer Day in the city of Warren.
Katie is only the second individual athlete at Warren Area High School to win a state championship. Seth Meyers was state champ in the high jump in 1991. The only other state champion from WAHS is the 1966 cross country team.
Warren Area High School doesn’t have a pool like some of the programs Beyer and the Dragons compete against, so her picture will hang at the Warren County YMCA. She holds multiple school and pool records at the YMCA and elsewhere.
“Those 10 days of practice, we really geared it up; both Katie and Hugh (Harrison) swam like 15 miles, which is equivalent to 26,000 meters,” said Coach Beyer.
Harrison had won the District 10 championship as a freshman in the 200-yard individual medley. White congratulated and recognized Harrison, and a multitude of fall and winter athletes and sports teams for their accomplishments even through COVID-19.
“Today is pretty historic in the history of Warren Area High School,” Stewart said.
Stewart reflected on the last high school athlete to win a state title at Warren 30 years ago.
“‘He’s probably one of the most humble people I have ever met,'” Stewart said her brother, who graduated with Seth Meyers, told her of his former classmate. “‘One of the most charismatic, positive, and uplifting people and intelligent, thoughtful and kind. Truly gifted in whatever endeavor he tried.’ There are characteristics that we look at, and when I look at Katie … it takes a great deal of motivation, an amazing amount of self-confidence, you have to be able to manage stress, and great athletes set goals and meet them … and it blows my mind that you’re only a junior.”