Jan. 9, 2015
- Read the January issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPhone/ipad app!
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye Android app!
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
Editor’s note: 24 Hawkeyes to Watch is a feature released Monday, Aug. 4, highlighting one athlete from each of the 24 intercollegiate sports offered by the University of Iowa. More than 700 talented student-athletes are currently busy preparing for the 2014-15 athletics year at the UI. Hawkeyesports.com will introduce you to 24 Hawkeyes who, for one reason or another, are poised to play a prominent role in the intercollegiate athletics program at the UI in the coming year.
By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Beth Baustian isn’t the only athlete to complete morning and afternoon practices nearly every day of high school. Still, her story is unique.
Baustian is from Davenport, Iowa, and graduated from North Scott High School. Her sport of choice wasn’t volleyball, basketball, or softball. It was rowing.
“I have terrible hand-eye coordination with any sport with a ball,” Baustian said with a laugh.
So twice a day since the age of 15, Baustian drove 15 minutes to a boathouse in Moline, Illinois, on the Mississippi River. She also competed in cross country as a high school sophomore and did offseason workouts with the team before her junior and senior seasons, but her passion was rowing.
“It sounds funny to say you rowed on the Mississippi, but it worked out well,” Baustian said.
Baustian was a member of Y-Quad Cities Rowing. Don’t be fooled by location, despite being in the Midwest, the club boasts one of the most competitive junior rowing programs in the nation.
Baustian was home-schooled until eighth grade. She attended Morning Star Academy in Bettendorf, Iowa, for two years before finishing grades 10-12 at North Scott in Eldridge, Iowa.
One of her main influences was her brother, Drew, who rowed at Cornell University and is now an assistant coach at Penn.
Prior to coming to Iowa, Baustian placed first in the women’s double at the Youth National Championships in 2011. She was fifth in women’s single scull in 2010. At the 2012 Club National Championships, Baustian placed second in women’s scull and 4×1. She was first in women’s double at the Head of the Charles in 2010.
Baustian was recruited to the University of Iowa by then novice coach Scott Ramsey. Before she got to campus, Ramsey was named head women’s rowing coach at Columbia. Instead of beginning on the Hawkeye novice team, Baustian was immediately elevated to varsity, rowing for the 1V8 at the Head of the Iowa and 2V8 at the San Diego Crew Classic and Big Ten Championships.
An exercise science major, Baustian also has an interest in dietetics, so she transferred to Iowa State as a sophomore to check out its accredited dietetics program.
“There is a ridiculous amount of support for our program and for athletics here. On our team in particular, everyone is motivating each other and we’re always there for each other. It’s easy to make progress when you’re surrounded by people that have the same goals as you and want to work hard. That has been amazing. You can tell the coaching staff cares about you as a person as well as caring about us succeeding. It’s good to be surrounded by great people like that.”
UI senior rower
On July 13, 2013, Andrew Carter was named head coach at Iowa. Baustian was interested in re-emerging as a Hawkeye and the new head coach already knew her name. Carter received many congratulatory calls from across the country when he accepted the job at Iowa. One coach included a message:
“You need to be sure she comes back,” Carter remembers the coach saying. “She is special.”
Baustian returned to Iowa City, and aside from being named Academic All-Big Ten, she has assumed a leadership role.
“The rowing program here has done a 180 (degree turn) in the last couple years,” Baustian said. “It is a different atmosphere, environment, people than it was when I was a freshman.”
Carter calls Baustian a steady, yet unpredictable, force which makes her an exciting student-athlete to be around.
“She’s not the biggest woman on the team, she isn’t the strongest woman on the team, but she is incredibly dependable when it comes to performance,” Carter said. “She brings her best effort day in and day out. We can always depend on her on race day to lead by example and bring her best performance.”
The Hawkeyes competed in three fall events: Head of the Des Moines (Sept. 27), a scrimmage at Indiana (Oct. 4), and at the Kansas Jayhawk Jamboree (Oct. 18). They resume with the championship portion of their schedule Feb. 18 against Old Dominion in DeLand, Florida.
“We are in a much better place this fall than we were last fall,” Baustian said. “It’s not unmanageable to expect to medal at Big Tens, especially with how hard-working everyone has been thus far with a good attitude. I think good things are going to happen.”
According to Carter, the gains Iowa made in the fall are in no small part due to contributions from Baustian. That includes a positive mindset, doing it right day-by-day, and having a smile and being ready for the most rigorous training sessions or stressful competitions.
Carter says what Baustian senses.
“We hope to climb up a couple slots in the Big Ten,” he said.
Baustian intends to graduate in the summer of 2015. She is looking into 2 ½-year master’s programs in dietetics.
“Then I will be able to take registered dietetics exam, complete the required internship, and be good to go,” she said.
Her future in rowing is less concrete. Carter would love for her to stick around the UI to use her final year of eligibility. Baustian is 5-foot-7 and she knows the United States national team is filled with women at least 5-11. Competing as a lightweight would require a 15-20-pound weight cut.
“I would never be able to eat ice cream again,” she said with her signature laugh that has led Carter to nickname her Princess Giggles.
Last June, Baustian competed in the Senior I/U23 World Championship Trials on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, New Jersey. She missed making the women’s B 1x final by 0.35 seconds.
For now she continues to enjoy her experience as a Hawkeye rower with at least seven competitions pending when the calendar flipped to 2015.
“There is a ridiculous amount of support for our program and for athletics here,” Baustian said. “On our team in particular, everyone is motivating each other and we’re always there for each other. It’s easy to make progress when you’re surrounded by people that have the same goals as you and want to work hard. That has been amazing. You can tell the coaching staff cares about you as a person as well as caring about us succeeding. It’s good to be surrounded by great people like that.”