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Burke wastes no time in Nevada

Placer grad sets new personal record after getting regimen down
By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Writer
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Jordan Burke’s cross country coach at the University of Nevada believed Burke had a big run in her even before she did. Before Burke competed in Santa Clara University’s Bronco Invitational on Oct. 18, Wolf Pack coach Kirk Elias told the 2008 Placer High graduate that if she ran a good race on the 5-kilometer course, she could beat her personal-best time at that distance by 45 seconds. “Deep down, I thought, ‘Yeah, right,’” Burke said. As it turned out, though, Elias’ prediction was spot-on. Burke shaved exactly 45 seconds off her PR, crossing the finish line in 17 minutes, 45 seconds to place 12th out of 143 finishers. “We talked before the race, and I said, ‘If you run an OK race, you’ll break 18 minutes. If you run a good race, you’ll finish in 17:45,’” Elias said. “I told her, ‘If you work really hard, you’ll prove me right.’” Elias said Burke owed the huge drop in time to the fact that her body is adjusting to a more difficult workout regimen. That regimen includes “doubles” — running in the morning and at night at Reno’s high altitude — two or three times a week. “She’s stepped up the volume and intensity of her training at the college level,” Elias said. “She’s just now adapting. Things started out a little rough for her, but after a four-week adaptation she’s climbing way up in cross country.” “The training in college is a lot more intense and a lot better,” Burke said. “I guess improvement was expected.” While the 45-second drop was admittedly a surprise for Burke, there did come a point when she recognized that her training was paying dividends. “About a month after school started, we had two hard practices one week, and I felt good,” Burke said. “I was actually staying up with people.” Burke’s improvement is among the reasons why Nevada has a shot at just the second conference title in the 30-year history of its women’s cross country program, according to Elias. Burke and the Wolf Pack will compete in the Western Athletic Conference Championships on Saturday in Las Cruces, N.M. As is typical of runners, Burke hopes to beat her personal record yet again this season — her goal is to drop an additional five seconds. She admitted reaching that goal on Saturday might be tough because the WAC Championships will be run in New Mexico’s high altitude, whereas the Bronco Invitational took place at sea level. Still, Elias wouldn’t put it past her. “The quality of her workouts has improved dramatically since she got here,” the coach said. “It’s quite obvious that she’s ready to do some good things.”