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One year makes big difference for Red River sprinter

What a difference a year has made for Tyler Burian.

As a junior, he failed to qualify for the 100 in the North Dakota Class A high school state track meet. He qualified in the 200, but didn't advance to the finals after recording the 10th-fastest time in the prelims.

Now the Red River senior is one of the state's fastest sprinters. Burian has the state's fifth-fastest time (11.08 seconds) in the 100 and the sixth-fastest (22.54) in the 200. He has the fastest time in the East Region in the 100, with the regional to be held Friday in Fargo.

"It's definitely been a shock,'' Burian said. "I wasn't even planning to run the 100 much. But the first time I ran it, I hit a qualifying time. I thought the 200 would be my race but, right now, it's the 100.''

Burian's times have gone down as his body has bulked up.

He's committed to play football at UND as a non-scholarship preferred walk-on. That's resulted in Burian becoming more committed to a workout regimen.

"I kept growing since last (track) season,'' the 6-foot-5 Burian said. "I put on 30 pounds and I got a lot more powerful. I didn't play hockey this winter, so I put on some miles doing a lot of running and I lifted weights.

"That (football commitment) definitely helped. I knew I had to get better. When you work hard, you get better. That's when you get results. That (commitment) pushed me to work harder.''

Red River track coach Jeff Bakke said it isn't unusual to see boys track athletes make big strides between their junior and senior seasons as they develop physically. While Burian was expected to improve, the 100 results weren't on the radar.

"We probably didn't expect Tyler to be doing so well in the 100,'' Bakke said. "That's a pleasant surprise. He's always been more of a 200 and 400 guy. Those seemed to be his best races.

"Because of his height, it seemed to take a little bit longer to get to his top speed. But he really worked hard in the offseason. He's been very motivated.''

While Burian has been at the front of the pack in the 100, he's also towered over the pack.

"I've seen pictures of my races in the 100 and my shoulders are at the level of the heads of most of the runners,'' Burian said.

The senior is one of several Grand Forks athletes who take the best qualifying standard into the East Region meet. Others include:

Seth Hanson, Red River: The senior has an East-best javelin throw of 183 feet, which ranks him second in the state;

George Nyanforh, Red River: The freshman is first in the region and third-ranked in the state in the triple jump with a best of 45 feet, 4.5 inches.

Shelby Frank, Red River: The sophomore is two-time defending state champion in the girls discus and has region- and state-best marks of 42-4 in the shot put and 160-0 in the discus.

Mackenzie Severson, Red River: The junior has the state's best time in the 300 hurdles at 45.27 seconds and is tied for the fastest time in the 100 hurdles (14.86).

Alexis Roehl, Central: The junior is defending region champion in the 800 and she has the state's best time (2:18.95) in the race.