It's fair to say that baseball’s loss was a huge gain for track & field and Zachary High School’s Sean Burrell.
Burrell ran track and played baseball as a youngster, but edged toward track.
“I started running track when I was 10,” Burrell said. “I usually played baseball in the summers. I missed the cuts because we were on a family trip. So I joined the Stampede Track Club."
That turned out to be a wise decision.
“I liked it, but then I’m competitive," he said. "I have two older brothers and we always liked to race. I beat them when I was 14.”
Success soon followed for Burrell, now a 15-year-old sophomore who helps lead the Broncos into the LHSAA’s Indoor Championships on Saturday at LSU’s Carl Maddox Field House.
Zachary has a chance to win both the boys and girls Division I titles. Burrell is expected to play a lead role, perhaps even a record-setting role in his specialty, the 400 meters.
Last spring Burrell won the Class 5A outdoor title with a time of 46.29 seconds and lowered that to 46.19 over the summer to set a 15-year-old age group mark.
Burrell was selected as the one of the MVPs at the year’s first indoor, LSU’s Louisiana Classic, in January. Last weekend, he squared off against the nation’s top high-schooler, Florida’s Tyrese Cooper, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Though Cooper won the race, Burrell ran a personal indoor best of 48.48, a time he'd like to better this weekend.
“That race was a way to get my name out there,” Burrell said. “It was a fast time, but my goal is to go faster this week, and I really think I can. I’ve got the 400 and the (60-meter) hurdles, along with two relays this week and I need to do my very best to help the team.”
Burrell won the 60 hurdles with a time of 8.28 seconds at LSU’s Last Chance Qualifier two weeks ago and hopes to finish under 8 seconds in the event this week as the Broncos look to battle John Curtis for the Division I boys title.
“It always helps when your best runner is one of your hardest workers,” Zachary coach Chris Carrier said. “He’s taken on a more of a leadership role this year. Sean leads our stretches and warm-ups. He doesn’t say a lot, but you see his message at practice. (The other runners) know his goal is to be one of the best in the country. They see how hard he works and they follow him.”