Female Area Athlete of the Week: Burton keeps racing the school record for S-M

S-M junior earns female area athlete of the week

Kyanna Burton.
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Every time Kyanna Burton runs her personal best, she’s running a school record.

The Staples-Motley junior broke her own school record and personal best twice last week. First, with an 18:40.05 run at the Staples-Motley Invite at the Vintage at Staples to win the meet. She followed it with an 18:38.5 run in Alexandria which was good for fifth place in a 24-team meet.

“I’ve been taking my training way more seriously than I ever have,” Burton said. “I think now that I am older, I understand how important running really is to me. During the races, I was really focused and was not really stressed about it.”

For Burton, taking her training more seriously looks like not slacking off, having fun and competing with her teammates.

Burton is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Class 1A state meet last year with a time of 19:08.10. Her time helped the Cardinals win the state team title.


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“It’s helpful to run with teammates who you’ve been with for a really long time,” Burton said. “You get a feel for where you might be at and we could be faster.”

As an eighth-grader, Burton finished sixth in the Class 1A state meet with a time of 18:47.2, which helped the Cardinals finish fifth as a team.

In 2020 there was not a state meet, but Burton finished third in the Section 6-1A meet with a time of 19:15.71 which helped the Cardinals finish the season as section champions.

S-M head coach Bruce Fuhrman said he’s seen a lot of growth from Burton since she was an eighth-grader.

“She understands how the system works very well,” Fuhrman said. “She doesn’t question when we do certain hard workouts. She’s a leader with that and other kids follow. She’s broken the school record in the last two meets. I think for her she knows she needs to get the workout in and she gets it done.”

The younger runners on the team are quick to mimic Burton in practice.

“It’s fun to watch because I don’t have to tell the kids to warm up and I don’t have to tell the kids to basically do anything,” Fuhrman said. “When it’s time to practice, they are all ready. When they watch Kyanna and the success she’s had and other runners when I get to practice they are stretched out and ready to go.”

As a leader, Fuhrman called Burton reserved, but not soft-spoken.


“She’ll stop and explain things,” he said. “She’s not overbearing or anything like that. She’s very mild-mannered and very friendly. She usually has a big smile on her face. I wouldn’t say she’s soft-spoken. She’s been louder at times and understands what needs to be done and the girls respect her.”

Burton is a captain which is a title she doesn’t take lightly.

“It means a lot to me because I want these girls to be as fast as they can and be as serious as all captains would,” Burton said. “I want to show them how to be better and still enjoy it.”

Fuhrman said they will try to get Burton to peak below 18 minutes.

“She’s more of a team player,” he said. “She likes the individual accolades and likes to be in the front, but she’s more about her team which is exciting too because that’s what makes the team more fun.”

Burton’s success rubs off on the Cardinals’ other runners.

“She’s made our No. 2 runner Audrey Brownell much better just because of the competition and they practice together,” Fuhrman said.

The goal for Burton is to have her team repeat as state champions. Fuhrman thinks she wants a little more.


“I think she wants to be section champion,” Fuhrman said. “She’ll never admit it, but I think that’s in the back of her mind. I know the team wants to win more convincingly at the state tournament because I think they believe they are stronger this year if we stay healthy.”

The school record Burton keeps breaking makes running her personal best special.

“Small PRs usually don’t mean that much to me,” she said. “But knowing that it’s the school record makes it mean even more.”

Other notable performances:
Volleyball: Maci Martini, Pequot Lakes, tallied 70 kills, 63 digs, 18 ace serves and three blocks.
Abi Martin, Pequot Lakes, tallied 209 set assists, 27 digs and seven blocks.
Ella Kratochvil, Pequot Lakes, tallied 80 kills, 61 digs, seven blocks and four ace serves.
Maggie Clausen, Staples-Motley, recorded 114 digs, five ace serves, eight set assists and four kills.
Ashley Kimman, Pierz, recorded 71 kills, 49 digs, 10 blocks, three set assists and two ace serves.
Kendra Cekalla, Pierz, recorded 127 set assists, 27 digs and two kills.
Katie Blaha, Verndale, recorded 19 kills, 20 digs, three blocks, four ace serves and one set assist.
Madison Carsten, Wadena-Deer Creek, recorded 32 kills, 39 digs, three ace serves, one set assists and one block.
Hannah Barchus, Pine River-Backus, tallied 32 kills, 24 digs, six blocks, seven set assists and three ace serves.
Alaura Dahl, Pine River-Backus, tallied 55 set assists, 21 digs, seven kills, six blocks and three ace serves.

Kyanna Burton

Year: Junior
School: Staples-Motley
Sport: Cross-country
Highlights: She won the Staples-Motley Invite in 18:40.05 and broke the school record in Alexandria

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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