Burke bids team adieu

What is essential to the success of a runner? Is it discipline, hard work or heart? YaTandrea Burke, 22, a senior psychology student from Virginia Beach, possesses all of these qualities and more. Burke has had an outstanding season and says much of her success can be attributed to hard work and determination.

Coach Maicel Malone is not surprised at Burke’s current success and said she is a pleasure to coach.

“I really enjoy working with Tan [YaTandrea],” Malone said. “This is our third season together and her hard work is really paying off.”

Burke is consistently leading her team at this season’s cross-country meets. Earlier in the season Burke was the only Lady Rattler to finish in the top 20 at the Florida State Invitational with a time of 19:27.46, for a 20th place finish.

Burke later finished in first place at the Atlanta Classic Invitational, with her personal best time of 19:22.71. On Oct. 3, she achieved Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Cross-Country Runner of the Week honors for this performance.

Burke’s most recent success was at the Troy University Coach O Invitational. Burke helped her team finish in fifth place overall, with an individual fourth place finish.

Burke is loved by her teammates and is a positive role model.

“She is a good teammate,” said Gabrielle Downer, 20, a sophomore Palm Beach native. “She is always motivating and giving good advice,”

Throughout her four years at FAMU, Burke has set the example on her team. Many runners look up to her and admire her effort. Downer says Burke knows when it is time for business and when it is time for play.

“She is a high spirited and enthusiastic leader, but she is very serious when it comes to the race,” Downer said. “At every practice she gives 110 percent when she works out and she gives 120 percent when she races.”

In preparation for the MEAC championships, the cross-country star is continuing to train hard. Although she has had success up to this point, Burke has been practicing some new techniques.

“I am going to do something a little different by trying to be a lot more relaxed and having a higher confidence level,” Burke said.

Burke is very excited about her final MEAC championship, and she is confident that her team will do well.

“We want to do better than last year because we so worked hard this year. Everyone is going in with individual goals, but our team goal is to let others know Florida A&M is here,” Burke said.

Malone has seen the time Burke is putting in for the MEAC championships, and she has a positive outlook on the results.

“She has put in a lot of mileage, training, and workouts,” Malone said. “I expect Tan to be very competitive and raise the bar. I expect her to be in the top 20.”

Although much of Burke’s success is because of her own determination, she said she could not have done it without the help of others.

“I was coming back from being sick and my coaches and teammates played very big part in my success,” she said. “They kept motivating me, and my coach told me to relax.”

Burke is a little down about this being her final year.

“I am sad, but I want to make sure I go out with a bang,” she said.

Burke is motivated for a good finish and she is taking the necessary steps to get there.