BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — After clearing all five heights in the NCAA preliminaries in Florida last weekend, UB senior high jumper Brandon Burke punched his ticket to Eugene, Oregon where he will represent the Bulls at Nationals next week.
“It means a lot, because two years ago in 2019 I unfortunately didn’t qualify for the National Championship, I was very close, I didn’t make 2.19m, but I was very close. But coming off a surgery last year, then being able to make the National Championship this year, it means a lot to me,” UB high jumper Brandon Burke said.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity getting to compete in Eugene, Oregon at Hayward Field. Not a lot of people get to experience that.”
Burke was one of three high jumpers to clear every height in the East Preliminary. After clearing the opening height of 2.01m, Burke then passed heights of 2.06m, 2.11m, and 2.16m before the final clearance at 2.19m that earned him a spot at Nationals.
“I mean, it was amazing. One of the high jumpers from LSU, JuVaughn Harrison, I actually tied with him. I know we didn’t finish the competition, but he’s second in the world at the moment and it was pretty cool to compete alongside him and a lot of other really great talent there,” Burke said.
The Rochester native is no stranger to competing at the National Championship. In March, Burke finished 7th in the high jump in the Indoor Track & Field Championships, clearing a height of 2.18m. In his first trip to Outdoor Nationals, he’s feeling calm and collected.
“A lot of people think you’d be nervous, but I don’t really get nervous. At this point, this is more of a business trip. It’s a lot of fun though, I enjoy it,” Burke said.
“Sometimes you just sit back and think like wow, and you think about how far you’ve come compared to how far away you were since like high school or so, but going to Eugene is probably the pinnacle of my track career at this point.”
The NCAA Championships get underway in Eugene, Oregon next Wednesday, June 9. The high jump competition is scheduled to take place on Friday, Jun 11 at 4:30 pm PT.