Forget about NDSU. Beau Kashmark was close to never running track for the rest of his life. The senior from Barrett, Minn., was almost a junior college basketball player before an NDSU coach saw him and knew he’d be a great fit for the Bison. Unfortunately, Kashmark would have to walk-on and earn his keep on the competitive Bison track and field roster.
Bison Illustrated: What’s Barrett, Minnesota like?
Beau Kashmark: “It’s a small town where literally everybody knows everybody and it’s got a small hometown community feel to it. (Population) right around 400. My high school I went to, West Central Area, is actually made up of Barrett and three or four other surrounding towns.”
BI: How many guys were on your track and field team?
BK: “Maybe like 20. Not very many.”
BI: You broke your school’s record in block shots. Were you a good basketball player?
BK: “Yeah, I was decent. I was actually going to go play basketball until I decided to go here. I was all signed up and ready to go play at Fergus Community College, which is about a half hour from Barrett.”
BI: When did NDSU first contact you?
BK: “It was my senior year, the meet before state, the section meet. I was at MSUM (Minnesota State University Moorhead), their track and the jumpers coach (Eric Hanenberger) at the time for the Bison was there and he saw me jump. I didn’t talk to him that day, but he talked to one of my coaches and gave him, my coach, his number and I talked to him a couple days after that and that was the first I heard from him. That’s what ultimately made me change my mind. I hadn’t even applied at NDSU yet.”
BI: Being set on a junior college and then going Division I is a big jump, what was that change of mindset like?
BK: “I just thought it was so cool that they were even talking to me. I didn’t know much about the recruiting process so I didn’t even realize it, at the time it was so late. I was just pretty much flattered they were talking to me and I had to make the decision between junior college and Division I and I picked Division I.”
BI: How much did you know about NDSU’s track and field team before you came?
BK: “I knew their football team was good and I knew they were Division I in everything, but I didn’t know that the track team was strong, no.”
BI: What made the biggest impression on you right away when you got here?
BK: “Probably seeing the weight room in the old BSA (Bison Sports Arena). That was crazy to me because our weight room at our high school was nothing compared to that, obviously. So when I saw that, they had 20 different platforms with NDSU logos all over them and what not, that was pretty cool.”
BI: What was it like competing against your Division I teammates for the first time?
BK: “(Laughs) It was definitely eye- opening because basically during all my high school meets, I was the winner in high-jump, usually jumping around six feet and that’s what the opening height was in college and all these guys on the team are state title winners and all that. It was a big change.”
BI: Did you ever have a moment where you thought it might be too much for you?
BK: “Not really, no. It was definitely hard work, but once I decided to do it, I wasn’t going to quit.”
BI: Are you on scholarship?
BK: “I did last spring. That was my first semester getting on there. It was pretty cool to finally get a scholarship after walking on and not even knowing you’re going to make the team and all that.”
BI: Was going into mechanical engineering always a part of the plan even if you were going to Junior College?
BK: “I was originally going to junior college and then ideally I would’ve transferred here or somewhere to get into engineering school. It just worked out that they had engineering at NDSU and I could start getting into the program right away.”
BI: What’s your plan with your engineering degree?
BK: “I don’t know yet, I need to find a job still. I could graduate this fall, but I’m going to go the full year just because I have eligibility left.”
BI: The women win the Summit League all the time. Do they push you guys during practice?
BK: “I think it helps. A lot of the times the jumpers practice with the girls, we get pretty close with them and it’s good to see them do so well. It pushes us to try and match them. It kind of sucks when they win indoor and we don’t, then they have something to brag about. But no, it’s a good relationship I think.”