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Athlete of the Week: BA's Burke gets an early running start

    It’s a great accomplishment to finish second in the state at a cross country meet.
    It’s all the more impressive when you aren’t even in high school yet.
    Thanks to the GISA rules which allow eighth graders to participate in varsity sports, Bulloch Academy’s Ashley Burke got a chance to compete against the best runners in Georgia — and nearly left them all in her dust.
    “It wasn’t really something that I was expecting,” said Burke. “I wanted to put up a good time. I thought that I could maybe finish in the top ten, but I wouldn’t have thought I’d finish second.”
    What Burke lacked in lofty expectations she made up for in time. Her mark of 21:38 at the challenging course in August was one of her best performances of the cross country season.
    Now, with four more years of competition still ahead of her, Burke’s biggest challenge will be improving credentials that far surpass most seniors.
    “I’ll just go and try to get better,” said Burke. “Getting this close makes me think that I can win state, but that will only happen if I improve before next season.”
    With four more years to improve, it's safe to say the ceiling is high for Burke.