EUGENE, Ore. – Wearing her uniform from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) track & field team for the final time on the national stage, graduate student Desirea Buerge finished 11th out of 12 in the semifinals of the U.S. Olympic Trials to cap an outstanding season and collegiate career on Saturday at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.
Buerge threw 55.44 meters on her first attempt, the fourth-best mark in program history. She fouled on her final two attempts.
Buerge wraps up her career holding the top six spots and nine of the top 11 in the discus in program history, including a throw of 58.90 meters to qualify for the trials. She ranks 11th among Americans and 59th in the world.
Some of the highlights of this season include winning the WAC Outdoor Track & Field Championship in the discus. The WAC Championship was her fifth-straight win in the discus after finishing second in the first two meets of the season and first in her next five before placing 22nd at the NCAA West Preliminary Round.
Buerge now plans to go to nursing school with the goal of becoming a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse.
“Nursing is the end goal,” Buerge said. “It’s the end job.”
As a second-grader, Buerge aspired to join the medical field to help find a cure to heal her grandfather, Lenny Wofford, who battled fibrosis, required oxygen, and spent many nights in the hospital.
Buerge’s family knew his time had come, but it was the empathy of the various nurses during the difficult moments that left a lasting mark on young Buerge.
“I watched how the nurses treated him and made sure that we were okay as well,” Buerge said. “We were taken care of and just watching the impact that the nurses had on me and on my family. They made sure everything was okay, and that is what really led me into nursing.”
Buerge committed to the NICU concentration after her baby cousin was born with collapsed lungs and Buerge’s family looked to her for answers and comfort.
“Being able to see that impact on how my family was already wishing I could be there,” Buerge said. “It makes me have the drive to be there even more as a NICU nurse.”
She ultimately wants to provide comfort and ensure the health of children for various families in stressful and emotional moments, just as nurses did for her and her family so many years ago.
“I just want to be there and be able to help make sure that they live,” Buerge said. “I want to make sure that I can make an impact on the families, so they are not sitting there so worried they can’t leave the hospital. I want to be able to put that trust and faith in them that I am able to take care of their children.”
Buerge graduated from Missouri Southern State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a pre-medical emphasis in 2019. She transferred to UTRGV to compete in both basketball and track & field while earning her Master of Science in Health Sciences with a concentration in nutrition. She also completed a minor in psychology.