Bella Burke is coached online by EF as part of our junior elite team as she lives in Tennessee. She has spent the last 3 weeks in Richmond though training with the team and learning from the coaches in preparation for the Monroe Junior Elite Cup which occurred last weekend in hopes of qualifying for Nationals. Bella’s race was not without obstacles. Arriving in Seattle, she quickly realized that her only bag which included all her race gear and clothes did not arrive. After spending 2 days trying to track down the bag, she decided to race with borrowed gear from two of her teammates who’s races was before hers. Throughout it all, she did not complain once or lose her cool despite knowing how important this race was to her. On race day, she had a strong swim and positioned herself with a good bike pack. Unfortunately, she had trouble getting into her shoes as she was not used to them and the rubber band she used for transition would not break. Both issues caused her to lose the pack and fall back to a group that was out of Nationals qualification placement. She remained determined though and went to work on the run knowing she had to pass several people. She had the run of her life running herself into contention and taking one of the last few qualifying slots! Bella is not only the athlete of the week for an amazing performance, but even more so, her attitude. Her spirit is contagious, and the Richmond athletes have all loved becoming friends with her these past 3 weeks.