Burger competes on international track and field stage in Cuba
Riley Burger recently took her talents internationally for track.
The three-time Class 4 state champion in the triple jump traveled to Cuba for the 2019 Memorial Barrientos meet in Havana, Cuba. Burger, a rising senior at Notre Dame Regional High School, represented Team NSAF (National Scholastic Athletics Foundation-USA) in both jumps, finishing seventh in the triple and 10th place in the long jump.
Burger said it was not too much of an adjustment facing competition from around the world, but the results only drive her to be better.
"It wasn't initially what I wanted," she said about her results. "It was a great experience to go over there."
"I scratched on my first (triple) jump by less than an inch or it would've been a really good jump. A personal-best."
In the competition, Burger jumped 39 feet, 5.75 inches in the triple jump and 15-11 in the long jump.
This past season, at the Missouri Class 4 State Championships, she won a third straight triple jump title with a 39-10 effort. She also took home the gold in the long jump with a personal-best 19-7.5. Her personal-best in the triple is 41-3.
The decorated jumper has her name etched in the concrete at Notre Dame's track facility due to her accomplishments.
Burger is undecided on which college she will attend but plans to pursue nursing. She also has not decided whether she will compete in more meets this summer, but plans to share the international experience with her teammates.
"It's so different, training-wise in Cuba," she said. "The way training is set up over there, I can't wait to share those methods with them. If it helped me, it'll help them as well."
Other parts of the trip also left an impression Burger. Before stepping foot on the track in Cuba, she and her NSAF teammates flew in with items to donate for the less fortunate. The list included shoes, clothes, food, and even a TV.
"It's crazy how we take things for granted here," Burger said. "For those athletes and their families, they're looking for a way out toward a better life. Everyone just brought a bunch of things needed just to give away and help out."