Burke shows Sarah Bowman’s presence still felt on Fauquier cross country team
Monday, Sep. 9
Junior Claire Burke should be the Fauqiuer girls' leading runner this season. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Fauquier’s talented junior runner Claire Burke flipped on the TV last month and watched a prime example of hard work and dedication paying off in her sport.
Legendary Falcon runner Sarah Brown, formerly Sarah Bowman, proudly represented the United States in the 1,500 meters at the World Track and Field Championships in Moscow.
Though Brown’s 10th place semifinal finish in 4:12.16 didn’t make the finals, her run in front of a worldwide audience was inspiring and motivating for Burke heading into a new cross country season this fall.
“Sarah Brown did great! It’s awesome to see someone who used to go to my school and run on the same track as me do such big things, a local hero. It makes me very excited to get back out and run another season with my team,” said Burke.
Fauquier’s girls cross country team is excited to have Burke returning after a stellar sophomore year.
She dropped the fastest time on the team last year at 20:34. It was seven seconds faster than No. 2 runner Samantha Bunn and almost a whole minute faster than the third fastest Falcon.
Burke didn't have her best run in the Evergreen District meet last year, placing 13th in 21:41, but her placing helped Falcon girls finish third.
Burke's great cross country season extended onto the track last year as she was named all-state after placing fifth in the 500 meters at the VHSL Group AA State Indoor T&F Championships (and eighth in the 800).
Those performances were good enough to be noticed nationally, as Burke was invited to the 2013 New Balance Outdoor National Track Meet.
Coach Quentin Jones says Burke has a lot of work to do as she recuperates from a long spring season.
“Claire did extremely well last year but she took a lot of the summer off after competing at the track nationals. For right now we are focusing on her to get her mileage in and gradually get stronger as the year progresses,” said Jones.
Burke is not the only one logging precious miles for the new season.
Fauquier has plenty of those veteran runners as only Samantha Bunn was lost to graduation.
Jones is confident that some new faces will step up and become key contributors.
“Our girls team is one of the largest that I’ve had in the past few years," said Jones. "We have a nice mixture of veteran and new runners this year that should give us a lot of strength and depth.
Jones singles out Burke, Shayne Halligan, Jordyn O’Saben and Cindy Cox as key Falcons.
Of those runners, Cox is the one returning senior of the bunch. The No. 5 runner on the team last year, Cox will be trying to give everything she has for one last season running with Falcons.
She thinks the Falcons have a chance to do something special.
“I believe we have the strongest team since I've been in this program," said Cox. "We have strong runners in every grade which makes us quite well rounded. I'm looking at us as strong contenders for a district title."
Cox also has personal goals.
"Each year I get a little better but I'm hoping this year to make a big leap in my progress. It's my senior year so I want to leave knowing I gave it my all. So all in all I'm very excited to see what this season brings,” said Cox.
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