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Burcham breaks record in first race of season

Mar. 29, 2013 @ 01:05 AM

ONA -- Cabell Midland's Jacob Burcham started his senior season with a record-setting victory in the 3200 in the Carlos Akers/Doc Hale Memorial Invitational on a chilly Thursday night at Cabell Midland's Chris Parsons Track.

Burcham and George Washington's Matthew Brafford ran shoulder to shoulder for nearly six laps. Then Burcham pulled away and with fans in the stands cheering him on, he sprinted to victory with a time of 9:27, nearly 10 seconds faster than former teammate and record holder Tyler Salmons, who won last year in 9:36.10.

"It's a good feeling," Burcham said of the first of four races he'd run on the evening. "I did all I could here. I'm ready to move on."

Burcham, who's signed to run cross country and track and the University of Oklahoma, later went on to win the 1600. He was scheduled to compete in the 800 and 4x400. He's the reigning West Virginia Class AAA champ in all three races and has the records in each.

"Just a good, hard workout," Cabell Midland coach Chris Parsons said of Burcham's 3200 performance. "Each race he'll get faster with each leg."

Despite having all the state distance records, Burcham said there's still a major goal he's after.

"Break 4:00," he said of the mile run.

Burcham's best mile time is 4:02.73. He did that June 9 in the Grand Prix Dream Mile in New York. His first attempt will come April 7 in the Arcadia (Calif.) Invitational. That meet is billed as one of the most competitive in the United States. The second will be April 26-27 in the Eastern Relays in Louisville.

This is the first year the meet has had a dual name. Richard "Doc" Hale served as a starter at meets locally, statewide and nationally until he passed away in June 2012 in Knoxville, Tenn. He was 80. Akers is a former teacher and coach in Cabell County and was one of the top track starters in this part of the country as was Hale.

The meet attracted 20 teams (boys and girls). Parsons was happy about that because there were meets scheduled in Charleston, Ripley and Parkersburg as well Thursday.

Cabell Midland's Mason Dino and Brian Lawhon finished first and second in the 400 Thursday night. They're members of the 4x800 relay team for the Knights. In hurdles, the Knights got a 1-2 finish from Nate Moore and Niles Dailey in the 110s.

Fairview senior Mason Rutherford won the jump (6-2). As a freshman, he cleared 5-2 to win the high jump for Huntington High.