South Forsyth senior hurdler Megan Beaty stands out at track and field practices. While most of the team is rocking blue or black running gear, Beaty chooses a green sweatshirt with “Piedmont College” written across the front.
While others chat about trivial subjects, Beaty goes from athlete to athlete, addressing what their gameplan for practice is for that day. She makes sure to interact with everyone she can—a chore with such a huge team—and then, finally, focuses on her routine.
You’d think, without knowing she’s still enrolled at the school, that she’s a coach. She thinks that’s a good thing, considering coaching track at South is actually her primary goal. She’s heading to Piedmont next fall to run track and field and pursue a degree in education. After that, she wants to return home.
Beaty’s work ethic comes from her roots. She has lived on a farm here in Cumming since she was just 3 years old. Her lifestyle has consisted of early mornings, late nights and a daily schedule centered around accountability and unselfishness.
She couldn’t eat breakfast until the horses were fed. Now, she doesn’t practice without putting ample time into her teammate’s development as well.
When asked if she feels like a coach-athlete hybrid, she responded, “I see myself that way.”
“Track is a team sport,” Beaty said. “If I do well, great, but if my team does well and I do well that’s extra points that we need to win a meet. So I take it upon myself. If I’m just sitting there, I’m wasting my time and everyone else’s.”
The truth is, Beaty has had to choose between sitting or instructing. After earning South’s most individual sprinter points as a sophomore, she found out during her junior season that deflated cartilage in one of her ankles was the source of painful practices.
“I felt like I had a broken bone in my foot,” Beaty said. “We went through a lot of testing and the doctors couldn’t figure out exactly what was wrong. I went into surgery and woke up from the anesthetic with a cast around my foot.”
Beaty’s number one fear was not being able to rehabilitate in time to earn a chance to run in college, but she made a recruiting profile with the National Collegiate Scouting Association and soon after came in contact with Piedmont coach Jeff Jenkins.
“We met through the NCSA program and hit if off at the start. I talked to other colleges and visited, but nobody stuck with me like they did. It felt like home,” Beaty said.
With the hurdle of worrying about her future behind her, Beaty now is focused on making the best of her senior season. She runs primarily in the 300 meter hurdles and the 100 meter hurdles. This season she hopes to break the school record in both categories. But she’s also looking at the bigger picture.
“Team wise, I want us to win state. We’ve never done it,” Beaty said. “I think we can with our distance team and sprinters are strong as they are. They won 11 of 16 events in our first meet.”
Beaty thinks her best trait is her aggression, but doesn’t want that to scare anyone off.
“It’s like being mean, without being mean,” Beaty laughed. “When your coaches are yelling at you to get aggressive, you have to kind of get mad.”
She says her propensity to be aggressive comes from her earlier days on the farm.
“I had to deal with horses, which are bigger than me,” Beaty said. “So, I’ve got some aggression from that.”
More importantly, her lifestyle with her family in the stalls on the farm prepared her for her willingness to take charge, no matter her job description.
“You grow up learning a lot about responsibility,” Beaty said. “I know that if something doesn’t get done, somebody else has to do it, so I choose to put a lot of responsibility on myself.”