Burton claims state long jump gold

By Giovanni Coronel
Posted 5/23/23

For Highland junior Sarah Burton, 17 was the golden number to strive for in the long jump event at the State Track and Field Championship meet in Des Moines on May 18.

“I was happy I was …

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Burton claims state long jump gold


For Highland junior Sarah Burton, 17 was the golden number to strive for in the long jump event at the State Track and Field Championship meet in Des Moines on May 18.

“I was happy I was consistently in the 17’s, which is a big plus for me,” Burton said about her performance in the state long jump event. “Glad to see 17-8 popped out at the end when I needed it.”

Burton’s farthest jump came on her fifth attempt, 17’-08.25”, and this jump would not be surpassed by anyone of the other 23 competitors, leading to Burton claiming the Girls 1A Long Jump State Championship. 

In 2022 Burton finished in third place in the state long jump, with her farthest jump being recorded at 16’-10.50”. This year, five of her six jumps were either at or surpassed the 17 mark. 

To say Burton dominated this year’s event would be an understatement. No one else came close to challenging her for first place, with runner-up being awarded to East Buchanan sophomore Andelyn Cabalka with a jump of 16’-09.00”.

Burton’s sixth jump of 16’-08.50”, her only jump of the day under 17, came after she had to put the long jump event on hold and race in the 100-meter dash preliminaries. 

“I was a little nervous at first at how I was going to do, but I did it last year so I knew it was possible,” Burton said about the quick turnaround from competing in the long jump to racing in the 100m. “The 100 is just a good break to get my mind off of long jump and then just regroup and come back.” 

Placing in the top eight after three jumps would qualify one for the long jump finals, where three more jumps would take place. With how the results were playing out, with Burton constantly hitting the 17 mark, it was no surprise for Burton that she would leave with the gold, but that didn’t diminish the joy she felt when she was handed her first place medal. 

“Overall, really overwhelmed, I can’t believe it’s actually happening,” Burton said about how she felt after being awarded her first place medal for the long jump. “But, just happy to be here, I want to thank Ms. Strobel for everything she has done.”

The Highland girls track and field coach, Angie Strobel, was by Burton’s side every step, and jump, of the way. Strobel would speak with Burton after every jump to offer advice and give her encouragement.   

“Sarah is definitely athletically gifted, but she’s also hardworking and coachable,” Strobel said about Burton before the long jump event took place. “She has high standards for her performances and if she’s not happy with how something is going she doubles her efforts to improve it.” 

Circling back to the Girls 1A 100m dash prelims, Burton was able to take sixth place with a time of 13.05 to qualify for the 100m finals the following day. 

On May 19 Burton would race in the first Girls 1A 100m finals of her high school career. She would place 8th with a time of 13.17, with first place being claimed by Newell-Fonda senior Mia Walker with a time of 12.41. 

As a team Highland captured 11 points and all of those points came from Burton in her individual events. 

In addition to the long jump and 100m, Highland qualified for state in two relay events as well, and Burton was a part of them both. 

The Highland quartet of Burton, senior Mackenzie McFarland, sophomore Lilly Barre, and senior Katelyn Waters would race in the Girls 1A 4x200 meter relay and the Girls 1A 4x100 meter relay prelims on May 19. 

This team, with the handoff order going from Barre to Waters to Burton to McFarland, would finish the 4x200 relay in 23rd place with a time of 1:51.23, just a smidge slower than their state qualifying time of 1:50.21. 

In the 4x100 relay prelims, where only the top eight would advance to the finals, Highland would place 22nd with a time of 52.38, which was faster than their state qualifying time of 52.42. 

“These girls expect maximum effort from each other,” Strobel said about the team of Burton, Waters, McFarland, and Barre before the state relay events took place. “They’re definitely friendly too, but they want to improve and win so they keep each other pretty focused on that goal.”

This State meet is the finale of the track and field season and with Waters and McFarland being seniors this would be the last race of their high school career. Highland will also be saying goodbye to six other seniors: MyLei Smith, Avery Pierson, Adelynn Kleopfer, Jessica Kraus, Lillee Boshart, and Kamryn Bell. 

“The theme for this year was to have fun, but to stay focused on the end goal.  Everyone wanted to get better and they worked to make that happen,” Strobel said about Highland’s season as a whole. “I couldn’t be more proud of all the Huskies that ran, jumped, or threw for us this season. They’re pretty amazing girls.”