The newest Lumberjack

Caleb Burger joins ACC cross country team

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Caleb Burger (front, left) sits down next to Alpena Community College cross country coach Mark Jacobs on Wednesday. Burger was joined by his parents Staci (back, left) and Chris as he signed on become the newest member of the Lumberjacks cross country team.

Alpena Community College head coach Mark Jacobs continues to bring in talented athletes to help his cross country program continue to improve.

The latest ACC signee is Caleb Burger.

Burger signed on to become the newest member of the Lumberjacks cross country team on Wednesday. Burger is a 2018 graduate of Alpena High School and will remain close to home for the next two years as he continues his athletic career.

“It really means a lot for me to be able to continue my athletic career. I’m the first one in my family to actually go to college and play sports so it really means a lot,” Burger said.

Running cross country will be new to Burger as he was a two year varsity starter on the Alpena boys soccer team and didn’t compete in cross country.

Despite not running distances, Jacobs knows that Burger is an athlete capable of making the transition and becoming one of his better runners on a team full of talent.

“This winter I ran into Alpena head soccer coach Tim Storch and he told me he had a former soccer player that wanted to run for me. I got some of the information and all I had was fantastic things about Caleb and his family,” Jacobs said. “When I first met with Caleb, within the first 30 seconds, I knew he was a perfect fit for our team. He’s a great young man who is going to help us a lot.”

Recruiting athletes such as soccer players and basketball players that had little experience running cross country is nothing new for Jacobs and his program.

The Lumberjacks have had a lot of success with soccer players. Two were on the team last year and ACC has had several soccer players transition to running in the past.

“I look for who is fit first. An athlete is an athlete to me. If you’re an athlete, you can become a really good runner and if someone fits the program that I’m trying to continue to build, it’s an easy fit and I usually know it right away and with Caleb, I knew it right away,” Jacobs said. “He’s a good fit for the team and the good thing about him is he has never ran distance before. The biggest change for a high school cross country runner coming in is the change from a 5k to an 8k and it’s huge. To Caleb’s advantage he doesn’t know what the difference will be like between the two.”

Despite having never competed in cross country, Burger has a gift for running and was able to get up and down the soccer field with ease. The transition will be different at first, but Burger is confident that his hard work and determination will eventually lead to him being a perfect fit with the ACC cross country team in the Fall.

“I was given a gift and I have amazing endurance so I think I’ll be able to adapt to it, but it will be quite a change. I hope to bring a lot to the table because I am a good runner and really think I’ll be able to help the team,” Burger said.

Burger will be majoring in Criminal Justice at ACC and not only joins a program that has had success on the playing field, but off as well as he joins a two time academic All-American team and figures to be a perfect fit in that in and out of the classroom.

Burger also continues the streak of at least one Alpena athlete per year continuing their academic and athletic career for Jacobs and his cross country program.

“I will start Caleb slow, but he could end up being one of my better runners. We have an extremely talented group coming in and he’s another piece to the puzzle,” Jacobs said. “He’s just another outstanding young man and I love coaching individuals like Caleb.”