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Teen athlete: Austin Burley

Burley poses for a graduation picture with rowing equipment. (Photo courtesy of Matthew Johnson)

Austin Burley is a captain of not one, not two, but three sports. Burley is a Denfeld senior and captain of Nordic skiing, track and rowing.

"It wasn't until my freshman year of high school, when I started skiing, that I actually became a student athlete other than skateboarding, if you count that," Burley said. "After skiing, I joined track because all of my friends that I had made in skiing also did track. After track it became rowing season, which I joined to cross-train for skiing, but it became more than just cross-training."

Burley didn't come across skiing in a conventional manner.

"I randomly was asked to come check out this meeting for Nordic skiing," Burley said. "I'll be honest, I thought it was a meeting for alpine skiing and I thought it would be fun. It wasn't until the third day of captain's practice that I found out that it was cross-country skiing."

Sophia Carrillo, another Denfeld senior, is a close teammate of Burley in every sport.

"We have stayed close throughout all of high school," Carrillo said. "My favorite part about being in sports with Austin is that he helps everyone achieve any kind of goal they set for themselves. He always helps them feel like a part of the team and makes every group feel like a family."

For Burley, one of the biggest variances between rowing and skiing is the close-knit manner of the teams.

"I would have to say that one of my earliest memories of skiing would be my freshman year when at Sven and Ole's in Grand Marais after a race, the entire restaurant sang 'Happy Birthday' to me," Burley said. "I think that just really says a lot about the ski community as a whole."

Burley's favorite memory in rowing is participating in a regatta in Boston in 2013.

"We were chosen and got to go to the head of the Charles Regatta in Boston," Burley said. "It's one of the largest regattas in the world. It was a really fun experience and almost culture shock."

According to Burley, rowing is more intense of a sport.

"Everyone is going as hard as they can and the team is bigger so it kind of gets a little cliquish, but not always," Burley said. "Rowing has completely changed the idea of relaxing in the summer because I'm up at 7:15 and rowing from 8 to 10 every weekday and then working on the weekends, so there isn't much sleep recovery happening at nighttime."

Burley finished out his senior year of skiing by just barely missing going to state. He is excited for the upcoming summer and fall of rowing and looks to his future in athletics.

"I will probably be attending the College of St. Scholastica and possibly skiing there or doing track and then also skiing in my free time," Burley said. "As for rowing, I'm not entirely sure what the future holds. Maybe I'll return during the summer to coach or even row in the men's division with my older rowing buddies."