Burke finished off his high school career in epic fashion, winning the AAA 1,600 meters at the PIAA State Championships at Shippensburg. He had a strong career overall. Burke posted track personal bests of 4:16.17 in the 1,600 meters, 8:56.88 in the 3,000 meters (indoors), and 9:28.84 in the 3,200 meters.
Burke was strong in cross country, too. He won the PIAA District 2 title as a junior and placed second at that meet as a senior. At states, his best finish came as a senior, where he took 48th. He ran his 5K best of 15:58 at the Paul Short Run at Lehigh.
The Lehigh recruit answered some questions for PennTrackXC reflecting on his career.
What was your most memorable race/competition?
Winning the AAA 1600m state title this year was an experience I'll never forget. I had been chasing a state medal my whole career and to come away with a gold medal in the last race of my senior year was the perfect finish to my high school career.
Where did you face your biggest competition?
I think I faced my biggest competition at cross country states. Pennsylvania is such a deep state when it comes to distance running. It was humbling to perform well at the district level and then barely come away with a top 50 finish at states as a senior. Racing in Hershey has showed me that you have to bring your A-game every day in order to race well.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?
Winning a state championship definitely stands out the most for me. There have been so many talented runners to come through Pennsylvania and haven't earned a state gold. Winning has made every obstacle and tribulation I've encountered worth it. It's certainly an honor to have garnered a state title.
If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?
I would have been more disciplined with my weight lifting earlier in my career. The only major change I made going into my senior year was placing a greater emphasis on lifting and I think that is what helped put me over the top.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
I got injured three days into my summer training heading into senior year. An injury that I thought would last a couple weeks ending up plaguing me for almost the whole summer. I had to completely reset and stay patient knowing that I was behind from a fitness standpoint compared to everybody else I was racing against. I also got the flu right before indoor states my senior year and finished dead last. That was more of a mental test for me because I was starting to pick up momentum right before getting sick. I had to erase that performance from my head and come back for outdoor ready to work again.
What will you miss the most?
I'll miss spending time with my teammates every day. I've developed very close bonds with all of my teammates simply by suffering with them at practice on a regular basis and will miss seeing them after school each day.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
Don't try to take any shortcuts with your training. There is no special workout that will transform your fitness over night. Simply being consistent with my training, working hard day in and day out, and remaining patient were the biggest keys to my success. Also, enjoy every minute of high school running because it goes by faster than you can imagine.
How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?
I owe a great deal of my success to my coaches. They've believed in me ever since I began running back in 8th grade and have helped mold me into the person I am today. They've taught me so much about persevering through adversity which I've been able to apply outside of sports as well.
What are your post-high school plans?
I will be attending Lehigh University to study computer science and business while running track and cross country.
Any shoutouts?Shoutout to my family for being my biggest supporters over the years; my coaches for all of the hours they've sacrificed to bettering myself as a runner; my teammates (notably our 4x4) for the countless memories I've made with them over the years; and lastly, the OCMD boys.