Bulldogs Turn In Strong Performances At Illini Classic

Tom Anderson (left) and Erik Peterson.

Butler made its 2014 track and field debut at the Illini Classic, held in Urbana at the University of Illinois on Friday and Saturday (Jan. 17-18).  Head coach Matt Roe said that despite sitting some of the team's top athletes, there were some outstanding performances in the first meet of the new year.

Two of those performances came from senior Tom Anderson and sophomore Erik Peterson, who won the men's mile (4:08.82) and 3000m run (8:17.15) respectively.

"Erik and Tom had great breaks," Roe said, "and it showed today. We're excited about them moving forward. They're both going to have great indoor years.

"Really, the people who had the best training over break had the best results," Roe said, adding that it's been a bit of a challenge for the groups because of it being the first meet, but also the weather. It's affected people differently. 

"But it's good to get back to the track, and to have had some sustained since (the athletes) have gotten back," he said. 

Senior Alex Berry, who placed fifth in the men's 600m run, broke his own school record with a time of 1:21.05. On the women's side, senior Shelbi Burnett clocked 10:09.84 in the 3000m run.

"That was a good effort," Roe said. "We've been training pretty hard.  I think some people in the meet were tired from training, but needed to get the first meet under their belts."

Noticably absent were a number of top athletes, including All-Americans Katie Clark and Mara Olson as well as Tom Curr, who just returned from being overseas. Some sat because of injury, others because they were continuing their training. 

"There is no reason for any athlete to be going into a meet and competing unless there's a benefit from it. You have to weigh the benefits of stepping on the line, or training.

"(But) it was good to have (much of) the team together," Roe said. "We will certainly get better from here." 

Butler's next meet, the Gladstein Invite, will take place on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 24-25, at Indiana University.