Q & A With Keziah Beall
Junior rower Keziah Beall (Bainbridge Island, Wash.) recently checked in with VirginiaSports.com to talk about the team’s 11th ACC Championship and upcoming race against No. 1 Princeton. The Cavaliers travel to the Tigers’ home course on Saturday (April 30) to compete against Princeton, No. 19 Tennessee and Columbia beginning at 10:40 a.m.
Question: How did it feel to defend Virginia’s ACC Championship this past weekend and win every race for the second-consecutive year?
Beall: It was a very solid, satisfying step in our season. It’s good to know that our depth continues to be one of our main strengths as a team. We had success across the board and, as always, I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it.
Question: As a member of the Varsity Eight, can you talk about that race and the narrow margin of victory vs. Clemson. What did it take to come away with the victory?
Beall: We’re relatively young as a boat, so we take each stroke, every day, as a learning experience. This past weekend more than one of us was fighting illness, which provides an internal challenge but also an added reason for us to connect and support each other. Narrow margins are what happen when there are good racers out there and Clemson has been working really hard to give us a run for the money.
Question: Being from Washington state, how did you choose Virginia? What about UVa made you want to row here?
Beall: My college search was sort of a process of elimination, since I wasn’t sure where I wanted to end up, but the combination of a highly respected intellectual community and a successful rowing team with a coach as welcoming and devoted as Kevin Sauer was really what left Virginia standing alone at the end. The improvement from the Seattle climate doesn’t hurt either.
Question: Your parents both rowed internationally, including your father who rowed in the quad race at the 1984 Olympic Games. Was rowing always a part of your athletic interests? Now that you are a collegiate rower at an elite level, how do your parents impact your career?
Beall: Rowing didn’t really move onto my radar until I realized that my favorite part about swimming, which I’d been doing competitively for awhile, was the team aspect of relays – the feeling of accomplishing something as a group. My parents encouraged me to consider rowing but never pushed it. They’ve always been my biggest fans, even when I was missing my only event at a swim meet because I was playing in the warm-up pool, but now their advice and encouragement comes from experience that I respect immensely. Their support means the world to me.
Question: At your first NCAA Championship (2009), you were in the unofficial pairs race, which you won, and then last year (2010) you missed the championships with mononucleosis. How much have those experiences factored into your motivation for wanting to compete at this year’s NCAAs?
Beall: Last year was devastating for me, and my desire to redeem the races that I missed out on goes hand in hand with my goal to be a part of Virginia’s legacy. Being a spare my first year let me see what championship racing means, and since then I’ve wanted nothing more than to be in one of the boats sent to represent the school and the program.
Question: What is the best part about Virginia rowing?
Beall: I don’t think I’ll truly know that until after I’ve graduated and am missing the team with all of my heart. I guarantee that I’ll miss it though, the good times as well as the tough, and my teammates most of all.
Question: Do you have a favorite Kevin Sauer quote or saying?
Beall: He says a lot of good stuff, sometimes inspiring and sometimes hilarious. Sometimes he’s just confusing. He fell off the dock the other day!
Question: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Beall: I love listening to music and I read a lot of music blogs, but I try to spend most of my spare time with friends. I also consider baking brownies or pumpkin bread time well spent.
Question: What is your major and your favorite class?
Beall: I’m a sociology major, still deciding on a minor. I’ve taken a lot of great classes but I absolutely loved the Contemporary Short Fiction class that I took, with Elizabeth Denton, during summer session last year. I think too many kids let reading for fun take a backburner during college … but I’m guilty of that as well.
Question: Looking to this weekend, one of the opponents is top-ranked Princeton – along with nationally ranked Tennessee and Ivy League opponent Columbia. What will the team work on this week to prepare? Is it daunting knowing you are facing the No. 1 team in the country? Is it difficult to row against Princeton on their home course based on your experience?
Beall: Yes, it’s daunting racing Princeton on their home course, where they typically do well, but we’ll have to race them at NCAAs so we might as well see what we’re up against. Our sights are still set on the end of the season but this week especially we’re looking to increase speed in every area that we can. I think that the team as a whole knows that this is not the time to let satisfaction about ACCs make us complacent.
Question: Does your unique first name have a special meaning behind it?
Beall: It’s biblical, but my dad’s great-grandmother was also Keziah. I think I remember my dad saying that she was still fly fishing at age 90, and I know for a fact that her cinnamon roll recipe is the best in the world.