Feb. 27, 2009
Butler will rely on a strong group of distance runners to lead its bid when it hosts the 2009 Horizon League Indoor Track and Field Championship on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 28-Mar. 1. The two-day league championship will be held at the DePauw University Tennis and Track Center in Greencastle, Ind.
The Bulldogs, who finished third in the women's competition and fourth in the men's a year ago, again will feature a strong distance contingent, led by senior Andy Baker and juniors Kris Gauson and Stephen Lisgo. Baker captured four league titles at last year's championship and was named the Most Outstanding Male Runner. Gauson currently is the league's top performer in the mile, while Lisgo is the league leader in the 3,000 meter run.
However, the three Butler aces may not compete in their primary events at the league championship.
"We are moving some guys around a bit this weekend as a tool to sharpen up in different areas," said Butler head coach Matt Roe. "It may not completely maximize all of our scoring opportunities, but should set up everybody well for the outdoor season. That being said, I believe we have the ability to finish in the top three solely on distance points."
Baker already has set a Butler indoor record in the 5,000 meter run and boasts the top 5,000 meter time in the league. But Roe plans on dropping him in distance at the league championship to work on his speed. Gauson, who will try to qualify for the national meet in the mile at next week's Notre Dame meet, and Lisgo, who has run a personal best at every distance at which he's competed, are slated to run in the 800 meter race at the league championship.
The Bulldogs will look for additional points from a distance corps that includes seniors Tommy Davies and Kent Wories, juniors Rob Mullett, Thomas Boardman, Joe MacDonald and Justin Roeder and sophomores Madison Roeder and Matt Lawder. Mullett, Boardman, Justin Roeder, Wories and Madison Roeder all finished among the "Top 15" runners at last fall's Horizon League Cross Country Championship, won by Butler.
Butler's bid on the women's side will be led by juniors Marbeth Shiell, Sara Bird and Whitney Turner. Shiell, a first team All-League runner in cross country last fall, placed sixth in the 3,000 meter run at last year's Horizon League Indoor Championship.
"We have some women really coming on," added Roe. "Marbeth (Shiell) will help us in a lot of different areas. And I am looking forward to watching Sara (Bird) and Whitney (Turner) run. They have gotten better every week."
Championship competition begins each day at 9 a.m. (ET). Milwaukee is the defending men's champion, while Youngstown State captured the 2008 women's crown.