Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams have gotten off to promising starts this season, and neither team has even used their entire squad yet.
On Sept. 17, at Purdue’s annual Indiana Intercollegiate Meet, the Butler men grabbed a fourth-place finish, while the Butler women finished second in a 20-team field.
Leading the charge for the men was junior Craig Gundersen, who earned a fourth place finish with a time of 24:52.
Completing the trio of Butler men who finished in top twenty were senior Kris Gauson (25:32) and junior Matt Proctor (25:33).
“We’ve had good performances so far, especially from the new guys,” Gauson said. “We haven’t really eased off yet going into our meets, so we’re doing well.”
On the women’s side of the contest, senior Marbeth Shiell was the top Bulldog, collecting a fourth place finish in the five kilometer race with a time of 17:45.7.
Only nine seconds separated Shiell and junior teammate Becky Howarth, who came in at 17:54.5 and claimed seventh place.
Also finishing in the top 12 runners were junior Lauren Haberkorn (18:01) and sophomore Katie Clark (18:08).
“The women’s team is led by committee,” head coach Matt Roe said. “Many of them run similar times, and they’re a tight group.”
The season opener for the teams took place on Sept. 3 at Illinois University.
The men came away as the runners-up in the six kilometer meet. Freshman Callum Hawkins took third place overall, running a time of 18:43.
Close behind him was fellow freshman Ross Clarke, in at 18:58.
“We definitely got off to a good start,” Roe said. “We were running a partial squad, and we got an idea of where some people are.”
The women brought back a victory from Illinois, placing six of their runners in the top ten. Sophomore Kirsty Legg was the meet’s individual champion, completing the four kilometer race in 14:16. Shiell turned in another strong showing, finishing runner-up with a time of 14:47.
Following her individual championship at Illinois, Legg was named Horizon League Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week for Aug. 31-Sept. 6.
The men have also been getting some recognition for their efforts. They were ranked 26th in first weekly U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Cross Country Poll.
“We want to qualify for nationals, that has always been the goal,” Roe said.
Both teams will head to the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 1 for their next meet.