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Beckmans at their best together

06/27/2011, 7:46pm CDT
By Aaron Paitich, Special to the Star Tribune

After season-ending injury, sisters will be reunited at the University of Minnesota

Alex and Amanda Beckman were multi-sport athletes at Eastview. They both play soccer, basketball and track. Star Tribune file photo

The Beckmans never even had sprained an ankle before, so when Amanda went down during the first half of an Eastview basketball game this winter, twin sister Alex didn’t think anything of it.

“Oh, you’ll be fine,” Alex told her.

Alex saw a look on Amanda’s face in the locker room during halftime and she started getting worried. That night, her knee swelled and stiffened even more, so she went to the doctors the next day. It was a torn ACL.

“I just immediately started crying just because I knew she wasn’t going to be able to do basketball or track her senior year,” said Alex, who was co-captain with Amanda in soccer, basketball and track and field. “And senior year you want to be able to do as much as you can.”

Amanda missed the remainder of her Eastview high school athletics career, instead watching from the sidelines as her empathetic sister marched on.

“They say it was tougher on Alex,” said Amanda, who began a long, gradual rehabilitation program just three days after surgery. “Yeah, right.”

While many injured athletes might stay away from the court, Amanda basically became another assistant coach. When she wasn’t at the doctor or rehabbing, she’d be at all the practices and games.

“I think it definitely showed a lot about her character,” Alex said. “I honestly don’t even know if I could have done that. You could tell she was disappointed she couldn’t be doing it but she was still there supporting everyone else who could.”

Life had changed for a few months. Aside from one basketball season freshman year, the twins had been on the same sports teams since kindergarten. The ultra-competitive athletes were so used to pushing each other on any platform, it took some getting used to.

“I think it was good for us though because it gave us different roles,” Amanda said. “It’s always been about beating each other but now it’s kind of different.”

While they always tried to one-up each other, the girls also helped Eastview beat the competition on the soccer field, basketball court and in track and field.

With various opportunities for the talented tandem, the Beckmans decided to pursue track and field at the University of Minnesota, where their father played baseball and mother was a gymnast.

Alex won the state triple jump title in 2010 and finished third this spring. Amanda finished fourth in the long jump last year and both ran on the state championship 4x100 meter relay squad in 2009.

Gophers coach Matt Bingle began noticing the versatile, well-rounded athletes as freshman and sophomores in high school. After they attended his camp last summer, things began to heat up. Both are being considered for the long jump, triple jump and heptathlon events.

“They fit the mold of our team,” Bingle said. “They’re what I would consider probably two of the best athletes in the state of Minnesota.”

With Amanda’s rehab right on schedule, she should be ready to join the Gophers during practice this fall. If anything, it’s made her stronger.

“It made me appreciate being able to do athletics and coming back to them,” Amanda said. “A lot of people are done after high school so I’m just very appreciative that I still have hopefully four more fun years.”

“I never doubted it,” Alex said. “I know she has what it takes to come back.”

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