Shakamak’s Bredeweg will continue to blaze her trail at VU

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Shakamak runner Liz Bredeweg signed her letter of intent to run track and cross country at Vincennes University in a signing ceremony at Shakamak High School Wednesday. Seated with Liz are her mother Missy Duchane (left) and her father Brian Bredeweg. Standing are Shakamak cross country and track coach Mark Messmer (left) and Vincennes University cross country and track coach Chris Gafner.
By Terry Schwinghammer

JASONVILLE - Hard work and dedication have paid off handsomely for Shakamak runner Liz Bredeweg.

After her sophomore year, the Lady Lakers’ top distance runner rededicated herself to her sport.

Her effort and performance captured the attention of Vincennes University cross country and track coach Chris Gafner.

And now Liz Bredeweg will continue her running career at the collegiate level for the Vincennes University Trailblazers.

“I’ve worked really hard for this,” the Lady Laker senior said. “My freshman year I realized I wanted to go on to the collegiate level.

“I set my mind to it and now I’m here. So I’m pretty excited about it.”

As a sophomore, Bredeweg was already the Lady Lakers top cross country runner. But she realized she’d need to improve to achieve her goal of running collegiately.

“The first thing I had to to was I had to get my faith right,” Liz said. “I had to be right with God. And then everything just kind of fell into place.”

Things certainly fell into place her junior season on the cross country course. Bredeweg’s times over the 3.1 miles fell by a minute and a half - an almost unheard of improvement.

“I realized I was a decent athlete so I started working harder and putting in more miles,” the harrier explained. “And it’s turned out very well.”

Gafner believes his latest recruit can continue to progress.

“I think she has a little left in the tank,” the VU coach said. “We’ve got a lot of girls who are similar in ability level and I think it’s going to help push her to the next level.

“I’m really excited about getting Liz to Vincennes. I think she’s going to fit in really well.”

Coach and runner finally got a chance to meet and speak in person at the South Knox Invitational in mid-September.

Gafner had known about Liz for awhile. “I’ve always been impressed with the way she performed,” he said.

But the South Knox meet was the first time he was able to talk to her face-to-face.

Bredeweg said at South Knox and soon after, “We just started talking more and I went on a visit. I got to meet the team and they’re like a family. And I really liked that.”

Bredeweg will also compete in track at VU.

“I think from what she’s told the coaching staff she likes the longer distances,” Gafner said. “She might run 5,000 meters or even the 10,000. It’s hard to tell though without spending some time with her in training.”

Vincennes University is a two-year public institution of higher learning offering a diverse set of majors.

The VU Trailblazers athletic teams are members of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Liz plans to major in chemistry.

After her two-year stint at VU, “I’m going to finish up my major at a four-year university I don’t know where yet.

“After that if I decide I want to go to medical school I may attempt to do that.” Bredeweg isn’t certain whether running figures into her plans after her time at Vincennes. Much depends on which four-year institution she ultimately chooses.

“I’m going to let whatever happens, happen. Just go with the flow.”

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