Butler junior Stephen Lisgo knew he was headed to Fayetteville, Ark., to compete in the 2009 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championship, which will be hosted by the University of Arkansas at John McDonnell Field, June 10-13. He found out on Tuesday, June 2, that teammates Joe MacDonald and Kris Gauson would be joining him at the national meet.
Lisgo earned an automatic berth in the national meet by placing third in the men's 3,000 meter steeplechase at the Mideast Regional hosted by the University of Louisville on May 29-30. His time of 8:42.84 was one of three that topped the previous Cardinal Park Track and Field Stadium record 8:49.25. Lisgo also missed the Butler record held by Mark Tucker (2002) by a tenth of a second! (Tucker's school mark of 8:42.5 hand time converts to 8:42.74 fully automatic time.)
MacDonald, who placed sixth in the men's 5,000 meter run with a time of 14:15.19 at the Mideast Regional, became an automatic qualifier when fourth place finisher Jeff Schirmer of Southern Illinois and fifth place finisher James Strang of Arkansas both declared for the 10,000 meter run at the national meet. Gauson earned an at-large bid to the national meet in the 1,500 meter run, after placing ninth at the Mideast Regional in 3:51.12.
Lisgo heads into the national meet ranked eighth of 25 competitors in the steeplechase, while MacDonald is 17th of 26 entrants in the 5,000. Gauson is ranked 18th of 26 athletes in the 1,500. Butler joins national distance powers Stanford and Oregon as the only schools to have a competitor qualified in 1,500, 5,000 and steeplechase.
Butler has had a competitor in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship in every year since 2000. The last Butler athlete to earn All-America honors at the outdoor national meet was Victoria Mitchell, who won the women's 3,000 meter steeplechase at the 2005 national meet, while the last Butler male athlete to earn All-America status was Fraser Thompson, who placed seventh in the 5,000 meter run at the 2000 national championship.