Successful runners strive to earn national titles


Abby Fullenkamp


Natalie Hilden

Junior track and field athletes Kyle Burdick and Rachel King had their best seasons running in 2016-2017.

Burdick was named Summit League Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year and King was named Summit League Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the year.

Burdick had his second-best time in the 1,500 meter semifinals in the 2017 NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, but fell short of the championship race after finishing eighth.

King won the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter races at the Summit League Indoor Track and Field Championships.

They didn’t just have success in track and field. They also succeeded in cross country. King finished second in the 6K and Burdick placed sixth in the 8K race at the Summit League Championships.

Expectations were high for both of them heading into this cross country season, as both have their eyes set on making it to nationals. So far, both have met the high expectations, as they each have first place finishes in races.

Burdick came in first in the four mile race at Oz Memorial in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and first in the 8K race at the SDSU Classic in Brookings. King placed in first in the 5K race at the SDSU Classic.

Both Burdick and King said they feel pressure with the success they’ve had and the honors they’ve received, but that it has pushed them more than anything.

“There is pressure to a sense, but there is new competition every year so I try to stay humble,” Burdick said.

“They are both invested in being good, neither gets towed along in the process.”

-Rod Dehaven, Head coach

But they have not always had pressure on them. In fact, Burdick and King came from high school programs not known for being successful.

Burdick went to Stevens High School in Rapid City and took a break from running his senior year. King went to St. Michael-Albertville in St. Michael, Minnesota, and split her senior year between hockey and running, initially unsure of which sport she would pursue at the college level.

Both credit head coach Rod DeHaven for pushing them and seeing the potential they have for success in track and field. He makes sure that all his recruits and athletes get his attention and this has made them feel respected.

“He didn’t want to go for the big stars, he wanted personal growth,” King said.

Junior Kyle Burdick came in first in the 8K race at the SDSU Classic Sept. 29. Burdick will begin his indoor track and field season Dec. 1 in Brookings.

DeHaven believes both King and Burdick have the ability to run at Big Ten schools, but SDSU was the perfect place and fit for their success as athletes.

“It isn’t too pressured,” DeHaven said. “It pushes them to succeed when they put in the work. They have the right people here.”

Both of them would like to finish well in the Summit League Cross Country Championships this weekend in Vermillion, but also have goals for the upcoming track and field season.

King wants to reach nationals in the steeplechase and Burdick would like a trip back to the NCAA National Championships.

Both said their goals keep them focused, which is what DeHaven thinks will be the key to their success.

“They are both invested in being good, neither gets towed along in the process. It’s all about personal investment,” DeHaven said.

The indoor track and field season begins Dec. 1 and 2 with the SDSU Holiday Open & Multi at the Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex in Brookings.