Less than a year after transferring from Macomb Community College, Joey Burelle has found himself a new home in Cardinal red.
In his first year running for SVSU, Burelle has fit in just fine. During cross country season, Burelle finished second on the team at the regional meet, and his success continued into the indoor and outdoor tracks seasons.
Last weekend, he noticed a fourth place finish in the 5,000-meter run at the Michigan State University Spartan Invitational with a time of 15:02, his fastest this season.
Burelle explained that he first got into running when he was in seventh grade. All of his friends were doing track, and he decided that he would try it as well. During practice one day, his coaches discovered that he was best in distance and it showed again in the eighth grade at a meet.
“I wasn’t supposed to be in this one race,” Burelle said. “One of the guys who was in it got sick and so I was thrown into it in his place.”
It was that race that started it all.
In 2011, Burelle decided to transfer to Saginaw Valley, but this transfer has had its ups and downs.
He remembers being told to make sure his credits transfer, but he soon found that some of them would not.
“It makes it a bit harder,” the junior said. “I had to adjust to taking more credits and classes than I first thought.”
Coming to a new team, he admitted, was the easy part.
“The team here is great; everyone’s so nice,” Burelle said. “It made the transition a lot better.”
This past fall, he ran cross country with the Cardinals for the first time, and recently completed his indoor track season to shift over into outdoor track. In the indoor season, he participated in events from the mile to the 5K. During outdoor season, it ranges from the 1,500-meter run to the 10K.
There have also been some differences in his workouts. At MCC, his coach focused more on the speed aspect of training while Coach Rod Cowan focuses more on strength. While both have about the same intensity level, but Coach Rod is a bit stricter: missing practice means you might not be able to participate in the next race.
“On Monday, we practice at 6 a.m. and that’s our interval day,” Burelle explains. “Tuesday and Thursday are recovery days. Wednesday is another hard day, but is more of a consistent hard run. Saturday is race day, so Friday is a bit more loose.”
It’s this schedule and coaching that Burelle said has been paying off.
“I’ve been hitting my personal best in my races so far,” Burelle said. “I’ve been doing really well to hit my marks, and so has the rest of the team.”
While his overall goal for the season has been to score at past and upcoming meets in the GLIAC conferences, he would also like to break the 15-minute mark for the 5K. It was a goal he came very close to hitting during the meet at MSU on April 7.
Burelle was seeded 15th in the race, running his fastest time of the season. While it was a personal best for Burelle, whose heat included about 70 other participants, it wasn’t exactly what he wanted.
“It was a bittersweet moment because I wanted to break 15:00,” he said. “But I’m going to try again when I run the 5K next in California.”
Burelle and the Cardinals compete again on April 14 in Northwood and again on April 18 at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif.