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Perham's Cassie Beseman leads a pack of runner's at the 2008 State Cross Country Meet. Beseman, a junior, ran a 5K and 6K race in Austrailia this past July.

Cassie Beseman's learning experience down under

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Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

In a new twist in running away from home, Cassie Beseman, a junior at Perham-Dent High School, returned from her running trip to Australia a different person.

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"It taught me a lot about how to live independently and survive on my own and work well with others," she said.

She also did not mind getting away from the folks, which she claims was not a big surprise to her parents.

"I liked it. I think they kind of know," Beseman laughed.

Beseman was part of a Midwest team that took part in the DownUnder Sports International games, where she took part in two cross-country races in Brisbane, Australia. Her trip to the other side of the planet included a pit stop in Hawaii.

"I went surfing with some of my friends and did a lot of shopping." Beseman said. "I also got to experience a luau in Hawaii and went parasailing, which was pretty entertaining."

Talk about fun and games.

Beseman ran two races at the Brisbane Gold Coast Marathon, where she ran the 5k and at Pizzy Park in Brisbane around the Fourth of July. Although, technically, that was the third of July here, Beseman is quick to point out.

"I was pretty happy with my results. I placed in both my races."

Beseman missed running last season due to a stress fracture in her third toe.

"I got it the first Friday of practice and was out the entire season."

She only raced one race this past season.

During the offseason, Beseman has been testing her toe running in the cross-country team's captain's practice, which started the first week of June after State track.

Beseman was a member of the Perham cross-country team as an eighth-grader when the team finished third in the state. As a freshman, she was part of the Class A runners-up squad. The girls were runners-up this past season as well.

While the upcoming season and future plans are in the forefront of the junior's thought process, memories of the trip are still lingering, along with the confidence in recovering from injury.

"The highlight of the trip was meeting everyone," she said. "I wasn't so sure about running the Gold Coast marathon race, but I finished with no pain for the first time since track in ninth grade and my second best time ever 21.16."

Beseman's personal best in the 5k is 20.54.

Future plans for Cassie include college and running, not necessarily in that order.

"I'd like to run but I'm not sure if I want to go to an intense running school or one more laid back. I'm going to do something with running."

Beseman placed 87th out of 3,208 runners down under and was the 21st girl to come in.

"It was pretty cool," she said.

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