CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Jacob Burcham didn't blow away the 9-minute mark in the 3200-meter run Friday at the state track meet, but he and his Cabell Midland teammates outdid themselves in the 4x800-meter relay.
With Avery Campbell providing a strong opening leg and Burcham finishing with a flourish, the Knights finished in 7 minutes, 49.84 seconds - 2.06 seconds faster than the 7:51.90 meet record set by the 1995 Hedgesville team.
Yes, the Knights planned to beat that record, considered amazing in its day.
"Coming in, that was our goal, to get that record," Burcham said. "I'm happy I did it for them in the anchor leg. Avery PR'd big-time in his leg. He's not an 800 runner, but he looked like it today. Mason [Dion] and Brian [Lawhon] did what they do, they're very consistent guys.
"I was just hoping I wouldn't blow it for him."
Burcham thinks Campbell nipped the two-minute mark, and his own leg clocked in at about 1:53.
Several hours and an encroaching rain later, Burcham won the 3200 for the third year in a row, but his time was "only" 9:08.34 - well short of the historic 8:57.73 he ran last year. George Washington's Matt Brafford took the non-Burcham title in a strong 9:21.71.
Brafford did take a shoulder's advantage for 51/2 laps, until Burcham hit the gas.
"I didn't want to run that fast, but Brafford took me out pretty quick," Burcham said. "He was running pretty quick; that was good by him. I was going to sit on him until I felt him getting tired."
Burcham's run ended a string of six dominating performances in the 3,200, started by St. Marys' Maggie Drazba. She won by more than 92 seconds, lapping the field on the backstretch of the final lap. A few races later, it was time for Buffalo's Dylan Rich to put on a show.
The senior, who also helped the Bison win the 4x800, cruised to an 11-second victory with a time of 9:41.54, which didn't threaten any meet records. But that wasn't the point.