MATTHEW VANTRYON | STAFF REPORTER
While the Butler women’s varsity cross country squad spent the week preparing for this weekend’s NCAA Great Lakes Regional, the second squad competed in the Hoosier Invitational.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs was sophomore Samantha Turley, who earned an eighth-place finish with a time of 19:10.
Freshman Maddie Westerhoff placed 13th, finishing the 5-kilometer race in 19:31. Sophomores Taylor Royalty and Stephanie Hanagan and freshman Jennifer Schrock also placed for Butler.
The entire team’s focus now shifts to the regional meet on Nov. 15 in Madison, Wis.
The Bulldogs are ranked ninth in the nation and second in the Great Lakes region, behind Michigan State. The Spartans are ranked sixth in the national poll and have captured the regional title each of the last two years. Butler placed fourth in last year’s meet.
No. 14 Michigan and No. 21 Notre Dame are the only other ranked teams in the region.
Coach Matt Roe said the team will benefit from last year’s experience.
“We’re running on the same course, and we ran well there last year,” Roe said. “So for the girls that competed last year, it will give them confidence that they can be successful this year.”
Roe said he looks for senior All-American Katie Clark to lead the Bulldogs. Clark finished second in the regional meet last year with a time of 20:10.
Roe said that he expects more of the same from Clark this year.
“She’s going to be in the same position this year in terms of being in the lead group,” Roe said. “I think she’s running really well, and she’s ready to go.”
The men’s team is also preparing for the trip to Wisconsin.
The Bulldogs are ranked sixth in the Great Lakes region, and look to improve upon last year’s ninth-place finish in the regional meet. Indiana is ranked first in the region, and third-ranked Wisconsin has won 11 consecutive regional titles.
Despite not having as high of expectations as the women’s team, Roe said the men have high expectations for themselves.
“The men themselves are expecting to have the best race of the year, and I think they’re ready for that,” Roe said. “I think they can be very competitive, they are really gaining a lot of momentum right now.”
Roe emphasized both teams needing focus on the last legs of their races.
“We need to run smart, and we’ve got to be tough over the last three kilometers of the race,” Roe said. “Being sure that we’re healthy, and making good decisions, and being tough late in the race—those are the keys for both sides.”
The top two finishers in the regional automatically qualify for the national meet, held at Terre Haute, Ind. on Nov. 23. The Bulldogs could also have a shot at an at-large bid if they don’t reach the top two, especially the women’s team because of its high ranking.