Burke refuses to brake

Kendall Scott, Staff Reporter

Intense workouts, exciting races and the thrill before the starting gun never seem to be too much for junior Claire Burke. A national competitor and successful student, Burke finds a way to balance school, sports, and student council obligations as junior class president. Nevertheless, Burke remains modest about her capabilities and often questions if she can remain successful in all areas. As she prepares for a race the simple words “don’t die” lead her to the finish line.
“Making it through the race is my biggest achievement every time,” Burke said. “You have to get your pace right in order to finish. If you start out too strong by the end of the race you might struggle to keep up.”
Through the persuasion of her older brother, alumnus Joey Burke (2012), Burke started running in the winter season of her freshman year. Since then, she has competed at the national level with her relay team, placed highly in most of her races, and impressed her coaches with her talent.
“Last year at states I placed eighth for the 800 meter,” Burke said. “I have been ranked all-state for all the races I ran at states. Also, my relay team placed 15th in nationals. It was held on the collage track at Greensborough NC last year.”
According to her cross country and winter/spring track coach, Burke came in as a talented runner her freshman year which has opened up many opportunities for her to compete at the highest levels.
“She is very disciplined, she is very dedicated, and she is very competitive,” Coach Mark Scott said. “Those are the three things that make her a success not just as an athlete but in general.”
Burke also holds the title of junior class president, and she demonstrates leadership qualities not only on the track, but also in the classroom. Currently she is enrolled in four AP classes. While she admits it is a lot of work, she is able to balance her commitments.
“Keeping up with my classes and also training for my races isn’t that tough,” Burke said. “Practices don’t last that long, and my teachers understand that I might be out late on days I have meets.”
Burke makes time during practice to have fun with her friends. Among her favorite memories, Burke reminisces on a rainy practice, where instead of running; she and her teammates rolled around and had a giant mud fight.
“Running keeps me in shape for homecoming,” Burke laughed “but it is also a way for me to have fun with my friends because many of them have been on the team.”
Burke sometimes struggles with accepting her capabilities. Before a race she often questions if she has the skill to make it through the race.
“Why do I run?” Burke said. “I guess it’s because I’m competitive. Even though during a race I think I can’t make it to the end, when I do finish it reminds me of how great this sport really is.”
This fall hasn’t gone the way Burke planned. She twisted her knee in the scrimmage against Culpeper on Aug. 21, preventing her from doing as well as she hoped in the invitational against Chancellor on Aug. 31. However, Burke plans to work through the injury.
“Coming off the injury will be a slight set-back, but I’ll be fine,” Burke said. “I’m trying my best to push through it.”
~Kendall Scott, staff reporter