Burt sets Earlham 8K XC benchmark at Louisville Classic

Austin Burt

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Earlham College sophomore Austin Burt set what is believed to be a new school cross country record at the 8K distance with his result in Saturday's "Live In Lou" Cross Country Classic Silver 8K race at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park.

Burt ran the course in 25:25.8 – shaving nearly 70 seconds off his previous personal collegiate best 8K time of 26:42.1, posted during his freshman season at the Oberlin Inter-Region Rumble.

He was 53rd overall out of 276 runners in the Silver 8K race.

"I ran a really solid race and it was a lot of fun. It was the most mentally prepared I've ever been," said Burt, citing his ever-improving adjustment to collegiate cross country. The relatively flat and looped course also appealed to Burt's track roots.

The previous best 8K time for an Earlham men's cross country runner was 25:39 back in 1996.

"What's been more rewarding is breaking that mental barrier and seeing what I'm capable of, getting a 70-second PR – that's pretty rewarding – and then, on top of that, getting ready to beat it again," said Burt. "I've got a few more races this season, and I think I can P.R. and in theory beat it again."

"I've had the mentality; I just needed that time – the performance – to prove it to myself, because I know I'm capable of being in the mix, but it was just a matter of putting up that performance and knowing that I can do it," added Burt.

Junior Noah Scherf also made a strong showing at the Louisville Classic, clocking a 26:16.1 at the 8K distance to finish 117th in the field. Sophomore Cade Orchard posted a 26:50.1 and was 160th overall.

Earlham men's cross country returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 19, when the Quakers compete in the Oberlin College Inter-Region Rumble.

E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park – Louisville, Kentucky

Men's Blue 8K (NTS, 515 runners)
395. Alexander Roberts, 29:23.7
403. Riley Green, 29:27.0
449. Michael Grady, 30:21.5

Men's Silver 8K (23rd of 40 teams, 276 runners)
53. Austin Burt, 25:25.8 (53)
117. Noah Scherf, 26:16.1 (117)
160. Cade Orchard, 26:50.1 (159)
172. Bineyam Tumbo, 26.59.6 (171)
209. Israel Ramos, 27:38.2 (208)
212. Ian Gorley, 27:44.9 (211)
229. Henry Foultner, 28:14.7 (228)