October 27, 2011

Bulldogs Eye Horizon League Distance Titles

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – Butler will try to stretch a remarkable success run when it heads to Cleveland, Ohio, to participate in the 2011 Horizon League Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Oct. 29.  The league meet, being hosted by Cleveland State, will be held at Squire Valleevue Farm and will start with the women’s championship race at 11 a.m. (ET).  The men’s championship race will follow at noon.

Butler swept both the men’s and women’s titles a year ago.  It was the tenth time in the past 13 years that the Bulldogs captured both league distance crowns.  Butler’s men have won 13 consecutive Horizon League cross country championships, while Butler’s women have taken the league title in eight of the past nine seasons.

Both Butler squads will look considerably different at this year’s conference meet.  Four of last year’s top seven men’s runners are gone, including Horizon League individual champ Kris Gauson.  And Butler’s top two women runners, league champ Kirsty Legg and league runner-up Katie Clark, are sitting out a redshirt season this year.  A third key returnee for the Bulldogs, junior Lauren McKillop, won’t run this weekend because of injury.  McKillop was the Horizon League individual champ two years ago, and she placed sixth at last year’s meet.

But the Bulldogs still should be formidable.  Butler’s men are led by a trio of All-Horizon League performers.  Sophomore Ross Clarke placed runner-up at last year’s meet and was named Horizon League Newcomer of the Year, while sophomore Callum Hawkins finished fifth in the individual competition.  Senior Matt Proctor, Butler’s seventh runner a year ago, placed 10th overall.  Also back is junior Kevin Oblinger, who finished 20th in last year’s race.

Head coach Matt Roe also can call on several talented newcomers, including freshmen Harry Ellis, Tom Curr, James Martin and Kodi Mullins.

The Butler women’s team features a trio of returning All-Horizon League performers, senior Lauren Haberkorn, junior Kaitlyn Love and junior Shelbi Burnett (right).  Haberkorn placed fourth in the individual competition a year ago, while Love came in eighth.  Burnett didn’t run in last year’s meet, but she placed third overall at the 2009 Horizon League Championship.

The Bulldogs also will look to senior Becky Howarth, junior Alyson Fosnot and talented freshmen Mara Olson and Chelsea Stephan.    

Butler is the all-time leader in Horizon League cross country titles with 13 men’s championships and 12 women’s crowns.  The Bulldogs have captured 13 men’s individual titles and nine women’s individual championships.