CONYERS - When Salem's swim coach, Lisa Boyd and girls soccer coach, Heather Cheek talk about the recently graduated Brittany Beaumont, two instances seem to make the former Seminoles two-sport star stand out.
First, during the winter season when regular 500-freestyle swimmer Amanda Tibbetts was injured, Beaumont stepped into a role she'd never been in and swam the event for the second half of the season.
In the spring, Beaumont took under her wing freshmen Courtney Hodges and Karlie McCallum, two budding stars, and helped acclimate them to life as varsity soccer players. For Boyd and Cheek, the two events, though months apart, showed what kind of person Beaumont is.
"Brittany stepped up and volunteered (for the 500 freestyle)," Boyd said. "She's just an amazing kid. She's one of those athletes that's willing to do whatever needs doing; she's very willing to sacrifice herself."
When freshmen come they aren't necessarily readily accepted," said Cheek. "(Beaumont) made them feel part of the team. She's remarkable (and) one of my captains, so she did have a good bit of leadership."
That leadership has helped Beaumont, the Citizen's 2009 Salem Athlete of the Year, land a soccer scholarship with Clemson. Boyd named Beaumont rookie of the year as a freshman and remembered Beaumont having her strongest season in the pool as a sophomore, advancing to the state meet as part of the 200-freestyle relay team, but after that, the coach could see Beaumont's future was on the pitch.
"She probably hit her fastest times as a sophomore (but) she started focusing on soccer her junior year," Boyd said. "But she continued to be very consistent the rest of her career."
That consistency carried over to the soccer field, where Beaumont was one of the key pieces on the Seminoles' back-to-back final four teams in 2008 and 2009. Cheek only coached Beaumont for one season, but got to see plenty of the athlete that has a chance of battling for playing time right away at Clemson.
"I think she realizes that it's going to be different and that she's going to be that low man on the totem pole," Cheek said. "I'm sure when she gets to Clemson ... she is not the type of girl that's going to sit by and settle for an occasional opportunity to play. She's going to drive to play when she wants to and as much as she wants to."
Boyd, who had Beaumont for all four years at Salem, echoes the sentiment.
"She listens, which is a dying quality in teenagers," said Boyd. "She's not ever one to complain (and) she's going to be somebody that works incredibly hard and do what she needs to do."
Kurt Aschermann Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
SideBar: Past winners
Past winners of the Citizen's Salem Athlete of the Year:
1999: Josh Locke
2000: Brandy Joseph
2001: Jason Guest
2002: Alison Joe
2003: B.J. Franklin
2004: Jamil Hubbard
2005: Nickey Newson
2006: Kyle Allen
2007: Chelsea Denson
2008: Zach Roddenberry