The Red Devils senior encountered water up to her calves and mud so thick that several competitors lost their shoes. The competition also met Burgess’ expectations.
“Right when the gun went off, usually, I’m pretty quick out,” Burgess said. “But these girls, my leg speed was challenged to stay with them even the first 100 meters. I knew I had to step it up. It’s just a different caliber of girls.”
Burgess taped her shoes securely to her feet and held up well against the Nike competition by finishing 30th. This weekend she’s back on the west coast, in San Diego, for the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships.
West Lafayette cross country coach Steve Lewark initially suggested that Burgess run only one of the national meets. But she wanted to compete in both, so he tailored a training regimen he hoped would keep her healthy over the six weeks following the IHSAA state meet.
Burgess, who finished third at the state meet as a junior and senior, runs 12-mile days Monday through Wednesday before dropping to six on Thursdays and four on Fridays before a race.
“It’s more of a base-type training, but she’s in good enough shape that she didn’t have to do anything about that. Just try to maintain for this extended period of time without wearing herself down too much,” Lewark said.
One highlight of Burgess’ trip to Portland was a visit to the Nike campus, which included a visit with champion marathoner Alberto Salazar. Burgess wants to study business in college and said she’d love to work for Nike someday.
She hasn’t chosen a school yet, though she’s particularly fond of Georgetown, which finished 12th at the NCAA cross country championships. Lewark said a strong performance at the Foot Locker meet would enhance Burgess’ recruiting profile.
Unlike last weekend, Lewark said the weather report — 60 degrees, a 3 mph wind and dry footing — could provide the best conditions Burgess has run in this season.
“I want to end my season on a good note,” Burgess said. “A PR would be awesome. But I just want to compete. I want to be able to say, no matter what my time is, I gave 100 percent.”