The Post-Journal

Local Woman Finishes Third In Age Group At 2021 USA Nationals In Milwaukee

Cheryl Burns finished third.
Cassadaga Valley teacher Cheryl Burns finished third in the sprint triathlon at the 2021 USA Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Submitted photo.

When it comes to competing in triathlons, Cheryl Burns knows a thing or two about what it takes to be successful.From enjoying an immense number of national accomplishments, to representing Team USA in Australia in 2018, the agricultural science teacher at Cassadaga Valley Central School has built quite the resume.

In early August, Burns continued to add to her distinguished resume, when she placed third in the women’s 60-64-year-old age group in the sprint triathlon at the 2021 USA Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

True to her nature, even with the impressive finish and final clocking of 1:18.58.0, the local resident always finds a way to seek out areas of improvement.

“There is always something more,” Burns said recently. “Even if I take like a first overall, it feels wonderful at the start, then I start critiquing myself in wanting to do better. I was only four seconds off second place. … For some reason, I struggled that day on the bike and I usually have a good, strong bike (time). It was not working for me, and it cost me.”

It is that attitude and drive that has led to Burns flourishing in the events she competes in on a consistent basis.

“For me, I have looked forward to every single workout that I have had for a couple of years now,” she said. “I have just really taken this to a different mental avenue and just love the fitness and health aspect of it.”

Along with her supreme motivation, Burns enjoys having the opportunity to positively impact and influence those around her.

“A lot of it has to do with just wanting to set that example for the younger kids that I teach and the people around me just showing them that anybody can do this,” she said. “It is just a great way to be healthy and stay healthy.”

One of Burns’ next tests will come in mid-October, when she will again have the chance to compete on an international level at the 2021 World Triathlon Sprint and Relay Championships in Bermuda.

She is certainly looking forward to being able to participate on the world stage, an occasion that simply does not come around for many people too often.

“They will also offer a mixed relay, which I will do on Oct. 15,” Burns said. “That is a new event, and they now have it at the Olympics. It is a four-person team … and then you just tag off. Everybody does it, and the best time wins. … Ever since Australia (in 2018), it has been my goal to go back and take the podium because of how close I was.”

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