Xavier’s Eamon Burke, committed to Syracuse track, focused on goals

Xavier's Eamon Burke finished in 6th place at the CIAC Cross Country State Open, Wickham Park, Manchester on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021.

Xavier's Eamon Burke finished in 6th place at the CIAC Cross Country State Open, Wickham Park, Manchester on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021.

Pete Paguaga / Hearst Connecticut

Before senior Eamon Burke came to Xavier, boys indoor track coach Chris Stonier knew a talented runner with a lot of potential was on his way.

“Eamon came to our program as a talented runner,” Stonier said. “He just missed breaking 5 minutes for the mile as an eighth grader and in high school that would be his first thought, to break 5 minutes. That goal to break 5 minutes would cause him to be focused and chasing goals every season.

“As a junior, he wanted to run a sub-4:20 mile and sub-9:10 in 2 miles. As a junior he producd a 4:17 mile and 9:08 for 2 miles. That has been one of his strengths as a runner, to set goals and reach them That mentality has kept him on a linear path of growth.”

Burke entered this indoor season coming off a solid cross country campaign in the fall. He won the SCC cross country championship in 15:35, a personal best. He was third at Class L (16:10), sixth at the State Open (15:55) and 13th at the New England championship (16:53.69). He led the Falcons to a 13-0 record.

The 2021 outdoor track season brought a sense of normalcy to the sport with COVID-19 wiping out track in 2020, forcing an abbreviated and limited 2020-2021 indoor season. Like most track and field athletes, Burke embraced the return of a full track season last spring and it showed in his results.

In the 2021 outdoor season, at the State Open he was fourth in the 3200 (9:08.53) and second at Class L in the 3200 (9:08.48). He led Xavier to the SCC meet team title with wins in the 1,600 (4:17.46) and 3,200 (9:36.54).

In mid-December, Burke committed to run track at Syracuse.

“I feel like after the cross country season, when I committed to Syracuse, I had a huge weight lifted off my back,” Burke said. “To get college settled, it’s like I’m running freeer now. Now I can focus on my goal this season, to break the school records in the mile, 2 mile and 5K.”

Burke’s focus now is on the prestigious Millrose Games at The Armory in New York on Jan. 29. The Millrose Trials are on Wednesday.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Burke said. “There are going to be so many great track athletes there. It’s going to be a lot of fun. One of the advantages running in Connecticut is you are always competing against elite runners like Gavin Sherry and Calum Sherry and Aidan Puffer in the mile and 2 mile.

“We’re all good friends and all those guys are national elite runners. They push you, they challenge you and help make you better.”

Conard twin brothers Gavin and Calum Sherry are committed to run at Stanford and Manchester’s Puffer to Northern Arizona. During the 2021 outdoor track season at the State Open, Gavin Sherry shattered the state record in the 1,600 in 4:01.88 and won the 3,200 in a meet record 8:59.80.

Stonier said that Burke’s strength as a runner is he has the right mentality to get through the ups and downs of the sport.

“Eamon has the physical, natural talent,” Stonier said. “But his strength as a runner is his resiliency. He doesn’t get too high or too low and puts everything in perspective. If he has a setback, if something disappointing happens, he learns from it and moves on and sets his sights on his next opponent.

“That resiliency, along with his focus on competing, setting and working on goals each season, combine to make him a succssful runner.”