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The Wildcat looks to constantly improve over the next three years as an athlete

SUBMITTED PHOTO - The Linfield hurdler still holds the Wilsonville High School record for the 100-meter hurdles. Wilsonville's Kristen Burke left high school as one of the top athletes in the school. As a member of the varsity soccer squad, Burke and her teammates accumulated a 42-20-3 record over four years.

As a track and field athlete, Burke thrice made the state finals, twice in the 100-meter hurdles, and once in the 300-meter hurdles. Had it not been for an injury her senior year, she probably would have made it a third consecutive year. Now two years removed from her last track meet wearing Wilsonville colors, Burke is still the school record holder in the 100-meter hurdles.

Now a Wildcat of a different type, Burke is still a two-sport athlete. She was a part of a Linfield soccer team that put together a 9-9-2 team over the course of the season, including a 3-1-1 stretch at the end of the year.

As a track and field athlete, Burke continued to take part in the event that is her bread and butter. She ran the 100-meter hurdles three times and finished progressively higher each time. Burke finished seventh at the Linfield Erik Anderson Memorial Icebreaker, fifth at the Pacific Preview, and third at the Linfield Open with a time of 16.98 seconds.

It will be tough to continue to build upon that positional improvement in the near future, however. Burke will miss the next track and field season to study abroad in Ireland.

"While I'm in Ireland in the spring I will study sociology and education, as those are my majors," Burke said. "I also plan on traveling all around Europe and find a soccer club to play with while I'm there." SUBMITTED PHOTO - Burke scored five goals over 735 minutes of play last season, and helped the Linfield program to a 9-9-2 record at the end of play.

As a forward on the Linfield soccer team, Burke scored five goals last season, with two of them coming against league foe Whitman on Oct. 8. Burke had 735 minutes of play when the season was all said and done. Part of her athleticism came from being a two-sport athlete, and she attributes her general success to that.

"I think as a two-sport athlete it is important to understand how the work I put into one contributes to the other," Burke said. "I have always gone with an approach that doing both will make me a better athlete overall. I wouldn't be the soccer player I am without track; I wouldn't be the track athlete I am without soccer."

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Kristen Burke is the daughter of Wilsonville athletic director Dennis Burke. Burke is also the daughter of Wilsonville athletics director Dennis Burke, who was there the entirety of her high school career. However, he was not an overbearing parent while overseeing the high school activities of his daughter, at least according to Kristen. In fact, he and the rest of the Wilsonville faculty were helpful in her becoming the student-athlete she is today.

"Having my dad as my AD throughout my four years at Wilsonville High School was definitely something I can look back on a say I was fortunate to have," Burke said. "He has always been good at separating parenting and work. The biggest takeaway, though, was creating such a strong relationship with the other admin and faculty. They are a special group of people, and all contributed so much to my high school experience."

At the end of her first year as a collegiate athlete, Burke is content with how things were, and is itching to get back into the athletic arena.

"Looking back on my first year, I am really happy with how everything went in both soccer and track," Burke said. "I love both teams and all of my coaches, and found the perfect atmosphere for me as a collegiate athlete. I am so excited to return and see my teammates again, and grow together to be even more successful than last season."

The Linfield Wildcats women's soccer team will take to the field for the first game of the 2018-2019 season in an exhibition matchup against Western Oregon on Thursday, August 23 at 3 p.m.

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