Girls rule, boys drool: Kirsty Legg named Horizon League Athlete of the Week

After emerging from her first track season nationally ranked as the fifth-fastest freshman in the mile, the well-rehearsed strides of sophomore Kirsty Legg are starting to pay off.
The Horizon League named Legg the Female Cross Country Athlete of the Week Sept. 6 after finishing the University of Illinois’ 4K Illini Challenge in 14:16.0 and placing first.
“I was very pleased, and I was very surprised to hear I won the award,” Legg said. “My teammates were the ones who told me about it, and they congratulated me.”
Legg’s 14:16.0 performance was only five seconds short of matching the meet record, although it is likely she did not know how well she was doing.
“I try not to think about anything during the race,” Legg said. “I don’t even think about my pace.”
Legg, a native of Middlesbrough, England, was not recruited by any American cross country or track programs until Butler contacted her.
Interesting circumstances allowed Butler to sign Legg without much competition.
“I was ranked sixth in the 1500-meter race in 2008,” Legg said. “But because I ran a good time late in the season, other universities already had their recruits they wanted.
“Once I had spoken to [assistant coach Darren] Gauson and met him in person, my decision was final to come to Butler.”
Legg said that the decision to attend Butler and transition to living in the United States was not difficult.
“I didn’t see the move as such a big decision because it was a great opportunity that universities in England don’t offer,” she said. “My mom is coming to watch me this summer during the track season, and she keeps up with how I do online.”
But Legg is more than a one-woman team.
“I want us to have a solid team this season, so I don’t think about my time,” she said. “We do a lot of work in practice sessions to train for the race, and we all try to run together to finish in a pack.
“We don’t even worry about what other teams are doing because we want to focus on our performance. If we think about them, it takes away from what we do.”
According to Legg, what the Butler women’s cross country team wants to do this season is win the Horizon League meet and do well enough at regionals to compete at nationals.
“We have a much stronger team this year,” Legg said. “Last year, we were very young, but now we have all gained a little experience. We are even trying to place one through five in a race this year.”
Legg and her teammates have three more events before running at the Horizon League Championships in Chicago Oct. 30.
The first of those three is the Indiana Intercollegiates this Friday at 4:30 p.m. in West Lafayette, Ind.
According to Butler head coach Matt Roe, Legg will not run the Intercollegiates event in order to rest and will run the 5K at the Notre Dame Invitational Oct. 1.

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