Future Star: Natalie Bierbaum Is The Next One Up!

Ms. Bierbaum is fast becoming one of the state's top newcomers


We first saw her visually during the prime of the Covid-19 era at the 2020 Shazam XC Championships. It was there a precocious seventh grader by the name of Natalie Bierbaum of Heyworth Middle School in Normal. Though it was a stage for bigger named middle-school stars like Mia Kotler, Stella Davis, and Sofia Arcuri, Bierbaum did well on the rugged Three Sisters Park two-mile course. She was the top finisher in her grade and sixth overall in a fine 12:17. 

Now, two years later Bierbaum has vaulted to the top of the underclassmen's three-mile charts. In her first competition against high school competitors, she led a nice field that included a seasoned veteran Anna Harden (Sr., Hersey) at the Detweiller at Dark meet before finishing second overall in 17:24. It was then that many people knew something special was brewing.

True to form Bierbaum has competed to the best of her ability during the first half of her initial cross country season. In five races Bierbaum has won four of them, the only loss was a third place finish at the First To The Finish Invitational against stalwarts Tatum David (Sr., Olney Richland County) and Becca Heitzig (Jr., Lincoln).

Central Illinois has produced tons of talented middle-school athletes who transitioned to high school and have done well. Recently, there is Bloomington junior "Ali" Allison Ince who has starred on the track nationally and statewide. Bierbaum has the ability to do the same. It will come down to staying healthy and hungry with the sport over the next few years. In the meantime, it's time to revel in the moment and circle your calendar for October 29 and November 5. Those dates will be rematches and the ultimate matches against David and Heitzig. The Chatham-Glenwood Sectional and State Championship will be the ultimate for Natalie Bierbaum.