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FRAMINGHAM – in his final high school cross-country race, Framingham High senior Sam Burgess finished 7th at the Champs Cross-Country National Championships in San Diego, California.

His time in Saturday’s 5K was 15:13.6 minutes.

It was one of the fastest-ever high school boys championship races, with 36 runners under 16 minutes.

The winner was senior Kole Mathison at 14:56.6. He was the only runners to go under 15 minutes.

Mathison & Burgess were just three boys runners who were competing in the national championship for the second consecutive season.

Burgess finished 29th last year, and after coming off an injury that had him miss most of the Flyers regular season cross-country races, he was thrilled with his national 7th place finish.

“I feel like the time was a lot faster than I thought it was going to be, and I mean, I was just happy the fact that I don’t really think I could have ran much harder,” said Burgess to SOURCE Saturday afternoon.

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The race was fast, as a couple of runners jumped out to a quick lead.

“I feel like I got out harder than I’m expected to. I was sort of expecting to be out in the middle of the pack and then I ended up just getting a position really quickly,” said Burgess. “I know when people go out fast, but they might not that sustainable. I guess I was hoping they would just come back, that obviously didn’t happen.”

Mathison took the lead about a mile in and never gave it up. he was the highest place 5000-meter runner returning to the national race in 2022.

“Originally I thought I was going to be middle of the pack through the half mile and then I just wanted to hit the front by the mile,” said Burgess. ” I ended up doing pretty much what I wanted with catching that front group by the hill.”

The Morley Field course at Balboa Park is a harder course than the Flyers’ Farm Pond home course and the Wrentham Center for playoffs in Massachusetts.

“It is a tougher, hillier course,” said Burgess.

To improve on his 29th place from last year, Burgess said he did a lot of strength training.

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“Being hurt, I had to do a lot more outside of just running to try and stay healthy,” said Burgess.

The Framingham High senior, who has committed to Harvard University in 2023, said experience on the course helped him Saturday.

“Yeah. “I feel like your first time running it, you don’t really realize how tolling that hill can be,” said Burgess. “But I sort of went in this year knowing the way you run this race is by, I mean, everybody’s going to hit the wall at some point. I mean, for the most part, or just pushing back how long you can hit the wall is normally just the best way to run.”

Framingham High cross-country coach Ed Crowley joined Burgess in San Diego for the national race, along with Burgess’ mom and family.

Coach Crowley is obviously a great coach,” said Burgess. “He came out to San Diego, just really awesome, but I mean, I wouldn’t wanna have any other coach. He, he’s been super helpful and he gets that I’ve been hurt. He’s not someone that’s going to try and run me through an injury or prescribe my training plan. He’s very collaborative in all of training and racing where we work together to work on training plans and racing strategy and yeah. I love Crowley as a coach.”

While Saturday was Burgess’ final high school cross-country race, it does not end his running season for Framingham High.

The senior will run indoor track & field and outdoor track & field.

Burgess said he plans to focus on the two-mile in the indoor season, but added he will work on his mile time. too.

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Photos courtesy of Champs National Championships

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.