The Penn track & field program has long considered the 800 meters to be a “Penn” event, with a long list of Heptagonal and IC4A champions over the years. Sam Burley might be the most prominent among them. He won the 800 at the 2003 NCAA Outdoor Championships, just the Quakers’ second national champion in that race. The first? Try Earl Eby -- in 1921. Burley also was a two-time winner in the 800 at the Outdoor Heptagonal Championships, in 2001 and 2003, and took the 1,500 at Outdoor Heps in 2002 and 2003. (That’s right, he hit the 800/1,500 double in 2003, making him the only multiple champion at that meet; not surprisingly, he was voted the meet’s Outstanding Performer.) He also was an individual Heps champion at the 2003 indoor meet, in the 1,000, as well as a winner with the 4x400 relay team in 2002. Burley helped Penn to its most recent Heptagonal team titles, outdoor championships in both 2001 and 2002. Burley graduated as a five-time All-American and 13-time All-Ivy honoree. On this night of his induction, Burley still holds the school records in both the indoor 800 (1:48.16) and outdoor 800 (1:45.39); in both cases, those marks also are second all-time among Heps schools. He also stands seventh all-time at Penn in the indoor 500 (1:04.02); seventh in the outdoor 1,500 (3:46.52); and eighth in the indoor 1,000 (2:26.13). A star in the classroom, as well, Burley was a 2003 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient, and he was the University’s Class of 1915 Award recipient in 2002-03 as voted on by Penn’s head coaches.
“My favorite memory from Penn is running the third leg on the 4x400 relay at Heps in 2002. We were tied with Princeton going into the final event, and the winner of the relay would win the meet. I remember coming down the backstretch with no one in front of me and the entire Penn team lined up along the track cheering (we won). Looking back at my running career, both before and after Penn, the fact that my favorite memory is running the third leg on a relay highlights how close we were as a team. I’m no longer running, but my closest friends are still my teammates from Penn. I’m proud to have been a member of Penn Track & Field, and humbled by my induction into the Hall of Fame.”