In what appears to be his first 400 in three years, Gloucester senior Steve Burkhardt ran the fastest time so far this spring in South Jerey Saturday at Cherokee.
Along the way, he broke a school record set 26 years ago by his father.
Burkhardt won the 400 at Fast Times at Cherokee High in 50.42, finishing six meters ahead of Robbinsville sophomore Maxim Rychkov (51.30), with Timber Creek sophomore Nasir Ali third in a PR of his own at 51.49. He ran 51.55 indoors.
According to his MileSplit profile, Burkhardt ran as a freshman but didn’t compete in track as a sophomore or junior. His 400 PR as a freshman in 2019 was 55.13 at Group 1 sectionals at Washington Township. That made him South Jersey’s 27th-ranked freshman quarter-miler.
So this was a PR of nearly five seconds.
Burkhardt is No. 2 in the state in the early going, behind only Lawrenceville senior Matt Baskin, who ran 49.23 at the Arcadia (Calif.) Invitational in March.
We didn’t want to make any assumptions, but not surprisingly the Steve Burkhard father who placed 6th in the 1996 South Jersey Group 1 sectionals in 51.8 – Paulsboro legend Fred Sharpe won the race in 50.1 – and then placed 5th at states in school-record 51.05 – is Burkhardt’s father.
Both Burkhardts also played football for Gloucester. The 1996 Burkhardt was an all-conference defensive back, and the 2021 version was an all-state running back for the Lions, surpassing 2,000 yards this past fall, and high school football stats are apparently much harder to find than high school track stats, but it looks like he rushed for over 4,000 yards in his high school career.