North Allegheny track star Casey Burton in prime position for memorable senior season

Thursday, February 27, 2020 | 11:45 PM

Becoming a standout in track and field wasn’t the initial intention for North Allegheny senior Casey Burton.

Finding success in the sport — Burton’s accomplishments earned her an opportunity to attend Princeton — was a byproduct of her hard work. At first, Burton was hoping to use the sport as an opportunity to ease the transition of moving from Virginia Beach to Pennsylvania.

Before Burton starting with the program, she had competed in gymnastics and cheerleading.

“I moved to Pennsylvania in seventh grade,” Burton said. “My parents suggested doing track to make friends. For me, the friends I’ve made in track I still have today. It was a nice way to get acclimated to a new area and school.”

Burton, who won the WPIAL Class AAA championship and placed second at the PIAA championships in the long jump during the past two seasons, has continued to build toward another strong spring season. At the TSTCA Championships Feb. 24 at Edinboro, Burton qualified for indoor states in all three of her events — the 50-meter dash, 200-meter dash and long jump — by placing first.

North Allegheny track coach John Neff is pleased with Burton’s progress.

“She comes to the table with a lot of talent in the first place,” Neff said. “She’s a talented kid who wants to work hard and does all the things she has to away from practices and meets. She has a great, positive attitude. She wants to do well and is willing to do the small things.”

One of the most important things for Burton this season has been conditioning her body properly. In order to hit her personal bests in events, Burton wants to avoid minor injuries. Last season, Burton was nagged by a hamstring issue.

“This year, I’m focusing on technique for the most part,” Burton said. “I had an injury that took me out for last year’s season. I’ve been focused on toning things down in the weight room. I don’t need that much muscle mass.”

During the TSTCA meet, Burton showed her versatility. Burton won the 60 meter dash with a time of 7.76 seconds, edging Central Valley’s Paige Drake, who came in at 7.90. In the 200 meters, Burton finished in 25.87, clipping Shenango’s Haley Morgan, who finished in 25.98. Burton’s winning long jump was 18 feet, 2½ inches, putting her in front of Penn Cambria’s Lyric Janoski (17-9½).

“I’m aiming for medals in all of my events,” Burton said. “I would like to win the long jump, but I’m focused mostly on breaking PRs.”

At an earlier indoor meet, Burton turned in a jump of 19-4½, which is the top-ranked leap in the state and ranks ninth-best nationally. Her career best is a 19-6, which she set during the 2018 PIAA championships.

Burton would like to hit 20 feet.

Neff is hoping she can get there.

“A kid like Casey, you never think a goal is too high,” Neff said. “She has great personal and team goals for the WPIAL finals, state finals and WPIAL team finals. I think she had a great winter, and it will help her move on to the next phase.”


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