February 26, 2012

Distance Sweep Lifts Butler At League Track Meet

Complete Results

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO -- Butler continued its record-breaking performance and wound up sweeping the running awards on the final day of the 2012 Horizon League Indoor Track and Field Championship, hosted by Youngstown State.  The two-day meet concluded on Sunday, Feb. 26.

When the final event was decided at the Watson and Tressel Training Site, Butler had a sweep of the men's and women's distance events, a dominant performance in the men's and women's middle distance events and four top athlete trophies.  Butler's women wound up in third place overall, while the Butler men placed fourth.

Junior Katie Clark (above right) continued her record-breaking performance on the final day of competition.  The Butler distance ace, who won the women's 5,000 meter run in a league record time on the first day of the meet, came back on Sunday with a win in the women's 3,000 meter run in a league-record 9:27.34.  She also placed runner-up to teammate Kirsty Legg (4:48.59) in the women's mile with a time of 4:49.08.  Both Butler runners topped the previous league mark.

For her effort, Clark was named Horizon League Female Indoor Track Athlete of the Meet.

"Katie Clark's performance is the greatest individual feat by a female in conference history," said Butler head coach Matt Roe.  "Smashing multiple records and scoring 28 individual points is an unprecedented mark for a distance runner.  She is in elite company with Kirsty Legg, who also broke multiple records this weekend.  They are a dynamic duo."

Legg, who erased the mile record of 4:55.81 set by former Butler runner Genni Gardner in 2008, also placed third in the women's 3,000 in 9:34.37.  Her 3,000 time also topped the previous Horizon League meet record.

Freshman Mara Olson made a splash in her first league meet, placing second in the women's 800 meter run in 2:13.50 and third in the women's mile in 4:49.35.  She joined Legg and Clark in topping the previous league mile record, and she was named Horizon League Female Track Athlete Newcomer of the Year.

Olson wasn't the only Butler freshman with a standout performance.  First-year runner Tom Curr dominated the men's middle distance events and wound up being named Horizon League Male Track Athlete Newcomer of the Year.  Curr won the men's 800 meter run in a school-record time of 1:50.67 and then came back to win the men's mile in 4:07.62.  He led Butler to a sweep of the top four spots in the mile, with sophomore Ross Clarke (4:07.85) finishing second, sophomore Craig Jordan (4:08.27) coming in third and freshman Harry Ellis (4:08.35) placing fourth.

"No two freshmen have ever had a greater impact on the middle distance races at the Championship than Tom Curr and Mara Olson," added Roe.  "As two of the top freshmen in the country, their honors are well-deserved."

Clarke followed his mile performance with a first place finish in the men's 3,000 meter run in a league-record time of 8:16.17.  He broke the previous mark of 8:17.62, set by Butler's Joe Macdonald in 2009.  Clarke was chosen as the Horizon League's Male Indoor Track Athlete of the Meet.

Butler swept the top thee places and four of the top six in the men's 3,000.  Sophomore Callum Hawkins, who won the men's 5,000 on the first day of the meet, placed runner-up in the 3,000 in 8:16.50.  He was followed by Ellis in third place in 8:21.85 and sophomore James Martin in sixth place in 8:30.03.

Butler also picked up a third place finish from junior Kaitlyn Love in the women's 800 (2:13.57) and a fifth place finish from junior Lauren McKillop in the women's 3,000 (9:52.95).  Freshman Connor Love placed sixth in the men's 800 (1:56.08), sophomore Mick Wang finished sixth in the men's Heptathlon (4184), and Butler came in sixth in the women's 4 x 400 Relay (4:04.99).

"I am incredibly proud of this group's performance," stated Roe.  "Team-wise, our men came up just short of our goal.  But we made up for that in some absolutely dominating performances.  Our young distance group put on a record-setting display that will be hard to duplicate.  Overall, the program is getting better in every area, and that's exciting.  This was a great team effort."     

(Photo by Ron Stevens)