The Butler track and field team is ready to begin a new season.
Butler will rely on upperclassmen to help reach its goals. With the team beginning its first year in the Big East Conference, a transition from the Atlantic 10 Conference will be required for many.
But senior distance runner Katie Clark is confident in Butler’s ability to adapt.
“With us being in a new conference again, it’s hard to predict how the team will do,” Clark said. “I will say, however, that there are a number of strong individuals this year, and that coach (Matt) Roe will very likely be taking a group of athletes to the NCAA championships this coming year.”
Clark was a key contributor to the women’s cross country team’s third-place finish in the national championship meet. Clark finished in 41st place with a time of 20:46.9.
Clark said she is hoping the momentum the track team’s distance runners gained through that national finish will translate to the track and field season.
“There is a different kind of energy and excitement for track, perhaps because the crowd is contained within a smaller space,” Clark said. “I know that a lot of us are excited about the track season.”
For the men on the team, a leader will be junior Tom Curr. He is a middle-distance runner from Stroud, England. He was a qualifier for this year’s cross country national meet.
He said he is looking to avoid injuries for what he hopes will be a bounce-back season.
“After a tough year last year with mono, this cross country season has reinvigorated me and reminded me of how good I can be,” Curr said. “If I can take this confidence onto the track, run without fear and race to win every race I’m in, I will do well.”
Battling injuries can be tough for any athlete. Curr said he has high expectations for himself to have a bounce back season.
“I have high hopes for myself this year,” Curr said. “I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself and I don’t want to be disrespectful to the competition out there, but I’ll certainly be looking to make nationals individually either in the 3K or the mile.”
Curr said joining the Big East Conference will feature a large step up in competition for Butler.
“It’s going to be tough, no doubt,” Curr said. “We’re all fully aware of that. But if we can go in with some confidence from our early season races and the distance guys can carry through that belief we gained following our third-place finish at the cross country conference, then I think we can surprise some people, take some titles, and hopefully post some marks that will help individually and relay teams progress to nationals.”
Confidence will be key for the Bulldogs this season. As long as they continue to believe that they can compete with other Big East schools, they can surprise many people, Curr said.
“I really see no reason why I should not challenge for the top places,” Curr said. “It only takes a good run on the right day, and a bit of luck.”