The U.S. No. 1 300m hurdler in the nation, Thomas Burns of Pine-Richland (PA), will return to the 305 area code next fall and join a star-studded University of Miami recruiting class which just received a commitment from Tyrees Moulton of Arizona and big-time transfer Chauncy Smart.
"We're just trying to take over the ACC and put Miami track and field back on the map," he said. "You know we are all familiar with each other and really get along, so it'll be quick for us to develop as a team."
Burns, whose brother, Artie, plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers, transferred to Pine-Richland from Miami Northwestern for the school year to be closer to family. Artie was a two-sport athlete for the Hurricanes and an All-American in track.
"The recruiting process has been pretty fun," he added. "Artie has just been telling me go with my heart and do what's best for me."
Burns did a little bit of everything for the Bulls last spring.
His specialty was the intermediate hurdles, in which he ran 35 seconds three times including his 35.90 to break Olympian Bershawn "Batman" Jackson's state record and his first state title in that event after two consecutive runner-up finishes. Burns won the Great Southwest Classic in 35.25, the second fastest all-time in high school history.
If that wasn't enough, he teamed up with Jamal Walton, Tyrese Cooper, and Sean Burrell for an all-star 4x400m relay at Great Southwest that ran a remarkable 3:03.35. That time would have been a U.S. No. 1 and would have broken the 32-year-old high school national record of 3:07.40 last achieved by Hawthorne (CA) in 1985.
In his first year competing in the 400m hurdles, Burns won a New Balance Nationals Outdoor championship, was second at USA Juniors with a PR of 50.12, and was first at the AAU National Club Championships.
His versatility showed throughout the season. He also ran the 200m dash, was runner-up at the state meet behind LSU signee Damion Thomas in the 110m hurdles, and was an instrumental part of the Bull's U.S. No. 1 4x400m relay team which won state and ran a U.S. No. 1 3:10.56 at the Florida Pepsi Relays and was runner-up at New Balance Nationals.
"My 2017 season was awesome," he added. "I did a lot of things that I didn't even expect for me to do this season. "This season was a surprise through out the whole journey."
This summer, he moved to Pennsylvania and enrolled at Pine-Richland High School in Pennsylvania to be closer and train with his brother.
Burns said he plans to return to Northwestern following the fall semester with goals of breaking all the records he just set and helping lead the blue and gold to another team title.