Keepin’ the Faith: Burt races to second straight Drake crown

By Taylor Bern 2006

Early last week, Faith Burt was concerned about what people would think if she didn’t repeat as the 100 meter champion at the Drake Relays.

Once she got down in the blocks, there were no such thoughts on the sophomore’s mind, and just 12.45 seconds later, Burt was a two-time Drake champion.

“I’m just glad I proved all those people wrong that didn’t think I’d be able to perform this well at Drake,” said an exuberant Burt. “I proved them all wrong, and I’m happy for that.”

Doubters were not hard for Burt and head coach Troy Becker to find heading into the meet. However, Becker never lost his faith in Burt’s abilities, and it paid off in the end.

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment to repeat as a Drake champion,” Becker said. “The thing that satisfies me more than her winning the title is the way she prepares and the way she graciously and humbly handles her success.”

Burt’s repeat run was the highlight for Cedar Falls as both men’s and women’s athletes competed at the 97th running of the Drake Relays.

On the women’s side of action, there was hope for a fourth 4×100 title in the last five years, but it wouldn’t come to be. The relay team of Kali Karsten, Brianne Hutchins, Raquel Facciani and Burt finished 4th in the race, .52 seconds behind first place Denison-Schleswig.

Karsten, Hutchins, Burt and sophomore Shawn Shaddox teamed to finish 8th in the sprint medley and Shaddox grabbed 13th in the open 800. the Tigers also finished 9th in the 4×400 and 13th in the 4×800. Sophomore Nina Savage didn’t finish her preliminary race in the 100 hurdles.

“When we didn’t finish as high as I wanted in events it was usually because other schools ran faster than I expected,” Becker said. “I thought our girls performed up to their ability.”

The men’s team was planning on showcasing its relay events, but after junior Phil Clark went down just days prior to the meet, the Tigers were scrambling to replace him.

Fellow junior Brandon Nelson stepped in to run the third leg of both the 4×100 and 4×200. the team of Taylor Brookins, Schuylar Oordt, Nelson and sophomore Corey Albrecht took 9th in the 4×2000 and 15th in the 4×100.

Senior Jason Mitchell took the helm of the third leg in the 4×400 which finished 21st, then switched with Albrecht to anchor the distance medley to a 9th place finish.

In individual event, junior Justin Romero threw 150 feet 2 inches to take 11th and Mitchell ran a 9.42:88 in the 3,200 to finish 10th.

“I felt good while I was running and I was really happy with my time. I beat a lot of guys who had better qualifying times than me and the feels pretty good,” Mitchell said.

With Drake nothing more than a memory, the Tigers will claw their way though the remaining meets, which include conference, districts and the second-ever co-ed state track meet. And few people are more excited about it than Becker.

“I’m totally fired up for State,” Becker said. “I believe we have a chance to go down there and place in several events and to have our best performances of the year. It should be an awesome time.”

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