Burnett wins second 3A State X-Country title

Kemmerer's Owen Burnett — competing for Mountain View High School's cross country team — won his second consecutive 3A State Championship Saturday in Ethete, with a time of 16:04.37, 33 seconds faster than runner-up Nathan Stevenson of Green River. Burnett — who will run for the University of Wyoming next year — led the Buffalos to their second consecutive 3A team title, as well. (GAZETTE PHOTO/Kati Baxter)

Kemmerer resident leads Mountain View to tam title

Kemmerer’s Owen Burnett – who competes for Mountain View High School during the cross country season – earned his second consecutive state title Saturday, winning the 3A State Cross Country Championship at Wyoming Indian High School in Ethete.

Burnett’s time of 16:04.37 was nearly 33 seconds ahead of runner-up Nathan Stevenson of Green River, and helped Mountain View secure their second consecutive team title, with 71 points. Evanston was second with 89 points, while Cody (94 points) Worland (96 points) and Buffalo (129 points) rounded out the Top 5.

“It feels great to win another title,” Burnett said. “Repeating in a competitive class like 3A is very satisfying. Being a senior makes the experience even more special, as I look back on how far I've progressed in the sport and how far I hope to go.”

Though Burnett was the favorite to repeat as state champion – beginning with his win at the 2022 Cardinal Classic in Soda Springs Sept. 3 – the season was not without its share of adversity. The University of Wyoming commit said he relied on his coach and teammates at Mountain View to help weather the down times.

“Performance-wise, I had a few low moments this season between sickness and injury, but I'm very grateful that my season came together when it mattered,” Burnett said. “Running for Mountain View has been a blessing that I never fully anticipated – Coach Kiefer is a very knowledgeable and passionate coach that I respect very much and the team has been very accepting of me, despite me being from another school. Being part of a state championship team where all runners, 1-7, do their part is almost more rewarding than an individual title. All season, we knew that we were the best team in 3A, and that we would accept nothing less than another team state title.”

Burnett will now turn his attention to the outdoor track and field season in the spring, where he’s the defending 3A State Champion in the 1600 and 3200 meters. He will compete for the University of Wyoming next year, under head coach Scott Dahlberg.

Asked what he’ll miss most about competing for the Rangers and the Buffalos, Burnett’s answer was right in line for the kind of competitor he is.

“I will mostly miss the people and the places that I've had the privilege of knowing during my high school career,” he said. “Funnily enough, I'll even miss those poorly-measured courses that add a full minute to your 5k time. They keep you hungry for a faster time at the next meet. I’m ecstatic about my opportunity to compete for Wyoming next year. Under Coach Dahlberg, I think I will accomplish great things. And of course, competing for my favorite state and living in Wyoming is exactly what I've always wanted. Go Pokes!”

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