(Jefferson, GA) – Senior Orlando Burgos came close to state championships in his two distance races at the GHSA Boys State Track Championships Thursday and Friday, but Jordan Flowers of Westminster was able to cross the finish line just ahead to claim the gold in both the 1600 and the 3200 meter events.
Friday’s 3200 race, ran under wet conditions at Jefferson High School, was especially close with Flowers crossing the line at 9:47:46 and Burgos close behind with his new personal best 9:48:64.
It was an extremely competitive race with both runners swapping leads and running shoulder to shoulder during almost every lap. Burgos closed hard down the stretch but was unable to catch up to the private school phenom.
The story in Thursday’s 1600 meter race was very similar with Burgos also setting a new personal record by five seconds.
The two runner-up medals bring to a close an outstanding season and career for Burgos. The senior won three state medals this school year including a third place finish at the State Cross County finals held last fall in Carrollton.
Surprisingly, Burgos only began serious training as a distance runner during the last couple of years. “I didn’t start showing true potential until I made the decision to dedicate my time and body to my sport,” stated Burgos.
“In order to achieve success I had to endure pain, experience failure, and most importantly, realize that I didn’t know everything there is to know about running. The sooner an athlete accepts those choices, the better his or her performance will stand out. If you want to be the be the best, it won’t be easy, but it isn’t impossible. I found that out a little late in the game, but I still have my future ahead of me. I am proud to have been a Heard County Brave,” he added.
Burgos became the first distance runner to finish top four in the state since Johnny Thornton placed third in the one mile run in 1974. The only other Brave distance runner to make a mark at state was a State Champion. Ricky Zackery won the two mile race in 1971 with a time of 10:19:05.
Head Coach Thomas Sickman was very proud of his athlete for his efforts.
“Orlando did fantastic. He ran a textbook race in the 3200 and got his best time ever in both races. He brought home two silver state medals and set two school records that will probably stand for a long time. I couldn’t be more proud of him,” stated Sickman.
Two other Brave athletes also competed at state but were unable to medal. Johnathon Hunt finished ninth in the Shot Put with a throw of 43′-11.5″ and senior Hank Barnes came in tenth place in the Discuss Throw with a throw of 117′-10.”