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By DAN SANTAROMITA CHARLESTON – The 400-meter dash is arguably the most physically demanding race in track, and Matt Burns can attest to that. The Willowbrook junior confessed to throwing up many times after running the longest sprint in track, but all that pain was worth it Saturday when he won the 400 at the Class 3A state meet. Burns ran through wet conditions at Eastern Illinois to win the final in 48.89 seconds. The Lombard resident qualified with the third fastest time in the prelims, 48.73 seconds, after entering the meet seeded seventh. “After Friday, I won my preliminary heat against some pretty fast kids, and that’s when I realized I do have a shot at winning the whole thing,” Burns said. “It hit me that I won obviously, but it didn’t truly hit me until the next morning when I woke up.” He won by nearly four tenths of a second, a wider margin than he expected. “With about 100 meters left I saw that I had a very slight lead so I knew that if I stayed relaxed and didn’t freak out and look into other lanes that I could finish strong,” Burns said. “I was shocked in all honesty. I thought it was just going to be all nine guys fighting at the finish line.” Burns also ran in the 200, but failed to make the finals after finishing 18th

PhotoNews/Clark Brooks for Shaw Media

Glenbard East’s Jack Peters (No. 5) competes in the 800-meter prelims May 24 in Charleston before claiming sixth place Saturday.

Big number 2006: Year Colin Madison won the shot put, which was the last time a Willowbrook boys athlete won a state track and field event in the prelims. The 200 is an all-out sprint, but the 400 is a controlled sprint where runners are at their top speed for a long distance. Initially Burns, who has been running track since fifth grade, didn’t want to run the 400. Gradually, that changed. When I was younger, I used to always dread it,” Burns said. “I would tell my coaches ‘Please don’t put me in the 400.’ As tough as it is, it’s grown on me because out of all the races I feel it’s the most rewarding because it’s the most physically demanding.” After playing on the varsity football team as a wide receiver in the fall and playing on the

varsity basketball team as a sophomore, Burns is narrowing his focus to just running track. He plans to begin the search for a college now that the spring season is over.

Glenbard East’s Peters makes 800 finals Glenbard East junior Jack Peters placed sixth in the 800-meter run in Class 3A. The Rams’ standout finished in 1:54.93 to earn East four points in the team standings in his first state appearance. Peters’ sixth-place finish is the highest the Rams have placed in any event since the 4x800 relay won a state title in 2010 and is the highest finish for an individual since 2003. It is the third year in a row a Glenbard East runner made the finals in the 800 after Mike Fahey did it the previous two years. Fahey was 11th as a junior and eighth as a senior last year.

PhotoNews/Clark Brooks for Shaw Media

Willowbrook’s Matt Burns celebrates his state title as he crosses the finish line Saturday in the Class 3A 400-meter dash finals at Eastern Illinois University.

NED • Friday, May 31, 2013 • • Press Publications | Northeast DuPage

Speed Burns

Lombard resident, Willowbrook junior sprints to state title in grueling 400 dash


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