By Ed Martin, Editor
Michael Burke at the Lemoore Kiwanis Meet
Michael Burke at the Lemoore Kiwanis Meet
Photo by Bill Burris, Photography for Kings County

Lemoore High School senior and high jumper par excellence, Michael Burke, made it look easy in the first round of the California Interscholastic Federation California State Track and Field Meet on Friday. The talented high jumper, who has led all California jumpers this year, was flawless on day one of the State Track Meet.

Burke jumped three times and cleared all three heights, his last lump at 6-8 to easily advance into Saturday’s finals.

CIF State Track and Field Meet

His head coach, Kelly Brown, was clearly impressed by the performance of his senior high jumper, who recently signed a national letter-of-intent to attend school at UCLA where presumably he will compete on the school’s nationally known track and field team.

Michael Burke goes for the gold Saturday.
Michael Burke goes for the gold Saturday.

“He was the only one who didn’t touch the bar,” said Brown. “In fact he was way above the bar and clear. He was the top qualifier.”

It’s been a busy week for Burke. On Thursday he graduated with about 400 of his fellow classmates, got a good night’s sleep and then make the short trek to the Veterans’ Memorial Stadium at Buchanan High School, the site of this year’s State Track and Field Meet.

Should he win a gold medal in the high jump he will join an elite group of state athletes from Lemoore who won a state title. The last was Mark Unzueta who won the state pole vault in 1998. The list also includes Olympic gold medal winner Tommie Smith and former San Francisco 49 and track star Dale Messer.

Burke’s top mark this year is 7-0 and he’s cleared that height a number of times this season. His mark, while tops in California, is fifth best in the nation.

Lemoore’s other hope for a gold medal, Tyson Pereira, was unable to reach the finals by clearing 14-2 in the opening day preliminaries. He needed to clear 15-2 to make the Saturday finals. Pereira, like burke, was also a West Yosemite League champion in the pole vault.