Butler University is nationally known for its consecutive runs in the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, but this fall there is a new champion on campus.
Actually, there are two of them—sophomore cross country runners Callum Hawkins and Shelbi Burnett.
The duo grabbed top honors in the men’s and women’s races in the Horizon League Championship on Oct. 29.
Hawkins, who was also named Horizon League Male Runner of the Week for the week of Sept. 19, finished his 8-kilometer race with a winning time of 25:34. Burnett crossed the finish line for her 5-kilometer race at 18:40.
For Burnett, who was redshirted with a stress fracture in her heel last season, the win has even more significance.
“[The win] was exciting, and it was something that I didn’t think was necessarily possible this season, just because the championship itself was up for grabs,” Burnett said.
Burnett also gave credit to the positive team atmosphere for her success, as well as the success of her Bulldog teammates.
“This season we’ve had a great atmosphere of cohesion and teamwork,” Burnett said. “I know when I line up, I’m not just running for myself, which is how I think a lot of people view running in general.
“For me, it’s about running as Butler and being a part of something special, and that’s what we have on our team right now.”
Hawkins was also happy to grab an individual championship for Butler.
“I kind of expected it from the way I was running, but it was still good to get it in the bag,” Hawkins said. “We expected to get the team prize too, so it was a good day for all.”
Hawkins credited his success this season to intense training, saying he trained over the summer and has been more focused this year on running and not getting caught up in “the college lifestyle.”
The women’s squad has been running strong this season but is missing a few key seniors to injuries, leaving the team’s younger runners with big shoes to fill at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.
“It will be an interesting experience for us because it’s a mixed group of girls running,” Burnett said. “We’re kind of young and don’t have our strongest front runners, but I think we can be a competitive group and hopefully have a couple girls place high and move on to nationals.”
Hawkins believes the Butler men have a good chance of succeeding at the regional level of competition.
“I feel like if we all run 100 percent, we have a good chance of making nationals,” Hawkins said. “We’re mainly focused on going in and doing the best we can.”
The Bulldogs will compete in the Great Lakes Regional in Toledo, OH, on Nov. 12 and will be looking to qualify for the NCAA National Championships in Terre Haute on Nov. 21.