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Burke Recognized as Community Athlete

In 2020, United Community Bank and Scheels teamed up to offer the Community Athlete Spotlight program designed to award students who feature exemplary sportsmanship, have overcome a major hurdle or have gone above and beyond to help a teammate.   On September 30, the two businesses teamed up for a surprise visit to Magic City Campus to award the third recipient of the program.

Nominated by her soccer coach, Matt Pfau, Minot High athlete, MaLiah Burke, is already well-known for her efforts in soccer, cross country and track, but she brings much more to the table than just athletic ability.

Burke puts forth an effort like no other, participating and exceling in two spring sports (track and soccer) that compete for her time and dedication. A favorite story from her soccer coach, Matt Pfau, includes MaLiah conquering two individual events at the WDA track meet, then making her own decision to drive 100 miles and finish the second half of her soccer team’s last regular season game.

But it doesn’t stop there. Those who know MaLiah also recognize her strong sportsmanship, sense of community and desire to help those in need covering everything from student council to the humane society. This year, Burke also found an opportunity to grow these qualities through her athletic ability.  MaLiah was named the Girls Soccer North Dakota Gatorade Player of the Year in 2021. With this award, Burke received a chance to create a video representing a charity she was passionate about. MaLiah had dreams of Prairie Grit Adaptive Sports implementing a soccer program and utilized this opportunity to make the dream come true. Her video competed against 49 others, won the national contest and awarded Prairie Grit $11,000.

Through the Community Athlete Spotlight program, Scheels & United Community Bank have decided it’s MaLiah’s turn to be treated for all the good she has been doing in our community.

The surprise presentation took place during Minot High Cross Country practice where Burke was  recognized and presented with $500 in gift cards to Scheels ($250 to each MaLiah and the Minot High Soccer Team) and $1000 to the Minot High Girls Soccer Team from United Community Bank. Burke will also receive a professional photo shoot and be displayed within the Minot Scheels and United Community Bank location.

For more information or to nominate a community athlete, stop by the Minot Scheels or United Community Bank locations or visit

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