Bulldogs Turn In Strong Performance At Illini Challenge

Illinis Challenge Men's Results
Illinis Challenge Women's Results

URBANA, ILL. -- Butler's women swept the top four individual spots and sophomore Callum Hawkins grabbed the overall runner-up position in the men's competition to highlight a strong season-opening performance for the Bulldogs at the Illini Challenge on Friday (Sept. 2).  Butler won the women's race, while the Bulldogs finished second in the men's competition.

Freshman Mara Olson, making her Butler debut, turned in an exceptional performance on a hot and sticky evening.  Running in 90-degrees plus temperatures, Olson covered the 4K University of Illinois Arboretum course in a winning time of 14:45.  She finished nine seconds ahead of teammate Becky Howarth in the runner-up position.

Sophomore Shelbi Burnett placed third in the race in 14:58, while junior Kaitlyn Love came in fourth in 15:06.  Freshman Erica Carlson was Butler's fifth runner and eighth overall in 15:21, while freshman Chelsea Stephan was one second back in ninth place.

The Bulldogs finished with a team score of 16 points, well ahead of runner-up Purdue with 51 points.

Hawkins challenged for the individual championship in the men's race, but finished a second behind Chris DeSilva of Illinois, who posted a winning time of 18:50 for the 6K run.  Sophomore Craig Jordan also posted a "Top 10" individual finish, coming in tenth in 19:20.

Junior Kevin Oblinger finished 15th overall in 19:39, while freshman David Ford placed 23rd in 19:59.  Freshman Kodi Mullins was Butler's fifth runner, coming in 29th in 20:13.

Host Illinois captured the men's title with 21 points, while Butler finished runner-up with 62 points.

Head coach Matt Roe held several of his top individual runners out of the season-opening competition.

ILLINI CHALLENGE WOMEN'S RESULTS
1.  Butler (16)
2.  Purdue (51)
3.  Illinois (75)
4.  Illinois XC Club (115)
5.  Hannibal LaGrange (145)
6.  Danville Area Community College (171)

ILLINI CHALLENGE MEN'S RESULTS
1.  Illinois (21)
2.  Butler (62)
3.  Purdue (75)
4.  Illinois XC Club (82)
5.  Danville Area Community College (111)
6.  Hannibal LaGrange (154)
7.  Second Wind (187)