By Matthew VanTryon – Staff Reporter
The Butler women’s cross country team continues to excel on the course, as they have soared in the polls. After a third-place finish at the NCAA Pre-National Meet, the team jumped 13 spots to a No. 7 ranking in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches poll.
The ranking is the highest in the program’s history, surpassing the No. 18 ranking achieved in 2005.
At the meet, the team finished with 176 points, 14 points behind No. 5 Florida State and 59 points behind No. 3 Georgetown. The team placed higher than several other national contenders, including No. 10 Virginia, No. 12 Oregon, No. 14 Michigan, and No. 16 Colorado.
Despite the success, head coach Matt Roe is keeping his team focused on the mission at hand.
“If rankings are a reflection of performance, then the rankings are a good thing,” Roe said. “But ultimately, we are just trying to get better every week.”
Leading the way for the Bulldogs was All-American Katie Clark, who finished tenth overall with a time of 20:19. Clark attributes preparation in the week leading up to the meet as a huge contributor to the team’s success. Clark also said she has had previous success on that course before.
Clark said the team is excited about the national ranking, because it means that their ability is becoming noticed.
“To finally get recognized as a top ten team nationally, it’s nice that people are finally seeing our potential on paper now,” Clark said.
Also contributing to the team’s success were Mara Olson and Katie Good, who finished 29th and 41st respectively.
The team has spent the past week preparing for the Big East Championship on Saturday, Nov. 2.
Roe said that preparation remains the same, with health remaining a top priority.
Clark said that unlike the past several years, the team doesn’t feel pressure going into the conference meet.
“If anything, we could be an underdog,” Roe said. “We’re just excited to go out and run against some really tough competition and see what we can do.”