EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 10, 2013

Around the Horn with Betsy Garnick, Bishop Guertin track great

Michael Muldoon
mmuldoon@eagletribune.com

---- — Betsy Garnick comes from quite the track family.

Pelham High’s Harris Family Track and Field Complex is named after her family and her aunt has held the UNH 100 meters record for 34 years.

Unfortunately for Pelham, Garnick isn’t running at the Harris Track. She’s a senior at Bishop Guertin in Nashua, where she has become one of the most dominant track athletes in recent state history.

She has won one New England title and six Division 1 state titles (5 in individual events) indoors and the last two years has won the Division 1 state and Meet of Champions titles in the 100 hurdles.

In her final jump at Division 1 states this winter, she went 17-6 1/2 to win the long jump by a half-inch. That proved to be the difference as the Cardinals edged Londonderry, 76-75, for their 11th straight championship.

In this week’s Around the Horn, Garnick talks about her most recent state hurdles record, where she will run in college, competing in two sports simultaneously and working at the family’s historic business.

What’s your favorite personal track achievement? “Getting fifth at Outdoor Nationals. My goal was All-American which is top 6.”

How did you get into track? “Originally, I loved gymnastics. My mother’s side of the family were huge runners growing up. In middle school, she persuaded me into running. I found running was my talent.”

How good were you at gymnastics? “I was a competitive gymnast. I was level 8.”

Do you do any other sports? “Not this year.”

Didn’t you dive? “I always wanted to try diving. It’s a good sport that goes hand in hand with gymnastics. It was a good experience.”

How did you do? “I did good, second at (Division 1) States.”

Did you ever do a fall sport? “Field hockey freshman year. I played varsity and JV.”

Was it tough to give up? “No, I really liked running.”

Have you made a college decision? “Northeastern. There was a lot to think about. I had so many discussions at the dinner table. Finally, my parents and I agreed that Northeastern was best for me. I’m confident with my decision. The other top schools were UNH, BU and UMass Amherst.”

How tall are you? “5-5.”

Where did you go to middle school? “Pelham Middle School.”

Did you consider Pelham High? “I did. My parents decided on Bishop Guertin.”

What’s been the lowest point of your career? “It was just frustrating, the beginning of the season for me. Last year my long jump and hurdles were better. Up until New Englands.”

That was a huge race, winning the hurdles in 8.01 to crush your own state record of 8.20. “I didn’t know I had it in me. I just wanted to win one (New England title). Right before the race, I was adamant on winning a New England championship.”

What was your reaction to that time? “I was shocked, to be honest.”

Do you work? “I work for the family business, Harris’ Pelham Inn. It used to be a bed and breakfast 50 plus years ago. It’s a function hall now. I waitress.”

How long has that been in the family? “Over 100 years (it was founded in 1906).”

Will you work there after college? “I’m not positive. I haven’t thought that much about it. I really like anatomy and sciences but my feelings could change.”

Are you from an athletic family? “My grandfather, George Harris, who just passed away last year, he ran track. My aunt, Betsy Harris, ran at the University of New Hampshire (and still holds the school 100 meters record of 12.19 set in 1979). My mom, Sue Garnick, played basketball at Keene State.”

What’s something people don’t know about you? “I’m a huge ice cream fanatic. I could eat it at breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

What’s your favorite flavor? “Coffee.”

What is your pet peeve? “I don’t like being poked.”

Do you have a nickname? “Bets or Betsy.”

Who do you follow on Twitter-Facebook? “Lolo Jones, the Olympic hurdler.”

Do you have any pets? “A dog, a miniature schnoodle. His name is Obi-Wan Kenobi. My brother and I used to be huge Star Wars fans.”

Have you ever met anybody famous? “I’ve met Nastia Liukin at a gymnastics camp.”

What is the most embarrassing song you have in your iPod? “I don’t have an iPod. I just turn the radio on.”