Barboursville native Jacob Burcham is back to his summer in the United States, getting ready for his junior year of high school at Cabell Midland.
His summer thus far, however, has been much different than any typical high school student. Burcham recently finished up international track competition in France. And the results?
Not too shabby.
He placed seventh in the world in the 1,500 meter at the IAAF World Youth Championships.
And he did it in what has reportedly been a record time for Americans in the 15-16 age group – 3 minutes and 46.55 seconds.
“My experience in France was pretty cool,” Burcham said during a radio interview with Frank Giardina of MetroNews. “We didn’t do much site-seeing, we were preparing for the race the whole time. The race was a really good experience for me and the international competition. I had a lot of fun with everything.”
And while on that world stage, Burcham said he didn’t let it have an effect on his race.
“It was pretty exciting – I wasn’t nervous before the race or anything because there were only 12 of us, so it wasn’t really that bad pressure wise,” he said if the final. “I just went out there and tried to see how high up I could finish.”
Earlier this year as a sophomore, Burcham dominated at the state track championships, taking home a triple crown while setting a couple of state records along the way as well.
Later this month, he’ll make a trip to Portland, Oregon for a Nike Elite running camp – only 10 high school boys in the nation were invited.
“Hopefully running will pay for college so I can go to school,” Burcham added.
But what about a possible future of longer distance running?
“I like the shorter races better than the longer ones,” he said. “I don’t see myself doing 5ks, but a lot of people have told me that they think that’s what I’ll end up doing. My favorite race is the mile right now.”
Regardless, the young talent is sure to have a bright future ahead – one that’s already off to a pretty good start.
“The rest of the world is not any better, you just have to outwork people,” Burcham said of his international competition. “They’re no different than anybody in the United States.”
For now, however, it’s just back to the summer – like most high school kids.
“I’m going to take a few weeks off,” he said. “Then I’ll start training for cross country with my team.”
A team that’s certainly glad he’s with them.