Track and field: Distance team leads way

School records, meet records and league records—the Butler track and field team has recorded them all this season.

The trend continued this past weekend at the Horizon League Indoor Championships in Youngstown, Ohio.

Although neither the men (fourth) nor the women (third) were able to capture a team title, individuals on both sides had strong performances.

Butler’s distance squad made a splash, breaking multiple records and setting personal ones.

Freshman Mara Olson finished runner-up in the 800-meter run, completing the race in 2:13.13.

Olson’s time was just seconds slower than the Horizon League record, which was set by Butler junior Kirsty Legg in 2009.

Photo courtesy of Dustin Livesay

The Butler women also swept the mile with Legg winning, junior Katie Clark taking second place and Olson grabbing third.

“We were really pleased,” Clark said. “I think the girls really ran well, and it was really nice to be a part of it.”

Clark also won the 3,000-meter  and 5,000-meter runs in league-record times.

“I made a deal with myself that this was the end of my season, and I was giving it what I had left,” Clark said.

The women’s distance medley relay team, composed of Legg, Olson, junior Kaitlyn Love and sophomore Maddie Cassidy, clocked a time of 11:35.83, winning the event and breaking the facility, Horizon League and Butler records.

“Overall, I thought we performed at a really high level on both sides,” coach Matt Roe said. “If you look at the marks, there are lots of records.”

On the men’s side, freshman Tom Curr won the 800-meter run in a time of 1:50.67, topping the facility record by nearly three seconds and barely missing a league record.

The 800 was not the only event Curr performed well in, though.

In the one-mile run, Curr, sophomore Ross Clarke, sophomore Craig Jordan and redshirt freshman Harry Ellis crossed the line in first through fourth places, sweeping the event.

Clarke also won the men’s 3,000-meter run in a Horizon League record time of 8:16.50.

“We’d really been hit with a lot of injuries before the championships, which meant added pressure for the distance runners to compete in several events,” Clarke said. “If we’re fit and healthy for outdoor conference, we will definitely improve.”

Butler’s success continued in the men’s 5,000-meter run, where sophomore Callum Hawkins recorded a time of 14:15.55 for another Horizon League record.

The men’s distance medley relay team of Ellis, Clarke, sophomore Andrew Wallace and freshman Connor Love later won their race, falling just short of both the facility and league records.

“The hard training we do every day enables us to maintain fitness post-season,” Clarke said. “It keeps us ready to embark on achieving next season’s goals as well.”

In the field events, freshman Nicole Hudec placed eighth in the triple jump and ninth in the long jump.

Freshman Bria Booker took eighth place in the women’s pentathlon for the Bulldogs.

In the men’s field events, sophomore Nigel Spears took fifth in long jump and sophomore Mick Wang placed sixth in the heptathlon.

All of the Butler women’s 82 points and 80 of the men’s 89 were scored in distance events.

“One of our program’s goals is to have everyone perform best at the championship event,” Roe said. “As well as we performed at the indoor championships, we want to be even better at outdoors.”

While most of the Bulldogs have completed their indoor season, a handful of Butler athletes will head to Notre Dame this weekend for the Alex Wilson Invitational.

The meet is the last chance for runners to post national-qualifying times.

The meet will be run over two days with running events beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday.

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