Butler Adds Talented Track/Cross Country Recruits

Butler Adds Talented Track/Cross Country Recruits
(Photo by John Fetcho)

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Butler's continued success in cross country and track is paying dividends for head coach Matt Roe in the recruiting arena.  The Bulldogs' coach announced the addition of nine track and cross country recruits for 2014-15 and the incoming group includes several state champions.

Set to join the Bulldogs this fall are Johnny Leverenz of Danville, Ill., Bobby Johnson of McDonald, Ohio,  Matt Lumbar of Edina, Minn., Chris O'Brien of Raleigh, N.C., Billy Thomas of Hoffman Estates, Ill., Harry Winter of Palatine, Ill., Jackie Dubnicka of Hartland, Wis., Rebekah Bosler of Carlsbad, Calif., and Laura Riches of Manchester, U.K.  Leverenz, Johnson and O'Brien each own state titles.   

"We are excited to welcome such talented group to Indianapolis this fall," said Roe, who led the Butler women's cross country team to a third place finish at the NCAA Division I Championship last fall.  "We have made a lot of in-roads regionally and nationally over the last few years while maintaining strong international ties.  This class is reflective of that movement.  One common theme amongst all the athletes we have committed is that they are as highly accomplished in the classroom as they are on the course and track."

Here's a look at Butler's 2014-15 track and cross country recruits:

Johnny Leverenz, Danville, Ill. (Danville H.S.)

Personal Bests:      400: 50.07    800: 1:51.14 (US#19)    1600: 4:10.00 (US#34)     3 miles XC:  14:40.00
--2014 Illinois State 3A 800 meter champion
--2013 Illinois State 2A 800 meter champion
--2012 Illinois State 2A  Cross Country runner-up
--Six times All State in Track/ Cross Country

Matt Roe on Leverenz:  "Johnny is one of the top recruits in the country this year.  He possesses big time foot speed, great versatility, and he knows how to win races.  Johnny is one of those rare athletes' who has the ability to effectively compete from 400-10,000 meters.   He's a fierce and fearless competitor, great student, and a humble guy.  Johnny has a tremendously high ceiling.  We look forward to helping him reach his potential."

Bobby Johnson, McDonald, Ohio (McDonald H.S.)
Personal Bests:       1600: 4:17.60    3200: 9:12.01    5kXC: 15:39
--2014 Ohio State 3A 3200 meter champion
--2014 Midwest Meet of Champions winner 3200 meters
--2013 Ohio State 3A Cross Country champion
--Six times All State in Track/Cross Country
--Six time All Ohio Academic winner
--2014 McDonald High School Class Valedictorian

Matt Roe on Johnson:  "Bobby is in a long line of athletes we have signed who managed to slip under a lot of radars.  We were high on him throughout the recruiting process.   He reminds me a lot of Erik Peterson who is having an outstanding career for us.  Bobby is a physical late bloomer who is really coming into his own.  He has a big aerobic engine, great work ethic, and impeccable habits.  Bobby is a tremendously bright young man who will be a great teammate.  We are excited to get him to campus."

Matt Lumbar, Edina, Minn. (Edina H.S.)         

Personal Bests:         1600: 4:23.00    3200: 9:26.00    5kXC: 15:42.00
--2013 7th  (All State) in Minnesota Division I Cross Country Championships
--2013 Led Edina to State Runner-up finish in Cross Country
--2013 Led Edina to 10th place finish at Nike Team XC Nationals
--2013 top runner on Edina's team that earned a #8 national ranking (Running Times)

Matt Roe on Lumbar:  "Matt comes from one of the top programs in Minnesota.  He was arguably the most popular prospect we brought on campus this year.  Everyone liked Matt.  Matt will fit in well and enhance our culture.   He is a hardworking, team oriented guy who delivers when it counts.  I like Matt's upside and his demeanor.  He is the type of athlete you want on the start line in a pressure situation."

Chris O'Brien, Raleigh, N.C. (Raleigh Charter)        

Personal Bests:        1600: 4:21.10        5kXC: 15:36.00
--2014 North Carolina State 1A 1600 champion and meet record holder
--2014 Placed in the 800, 1600, and 3200 at State 1A Championships (same day)
--2013 State 1A Cross Country runner-up
--2013 Placed 15th at Nike Southeast Championships

Matt Roe on O'Brien:  "Chris is a young man with exciting potential.  He comes from a small school and largely trains on his own.  He has only been formally running for two years.  Moving forward Chris has the chance to really surprise people."

Billy Thomas, Hoffman Estates, Ill. (Hoffman Estates H.S.)

Personal Bests:        3200: 9:26.11        3 miles XC:  14:38.11
--2014 State Qualifier 3200 meters
--2013 Earned All State honors in Cross Country (3A)

Matt Roe on Thomas:   "Billy is your quintessential tough guy.  We certainly have use for that type of athlete in our program.  Billy is going to immediately help our training culture.   With time in our system he could develop into a key contributor."

Harry Winter, Palatine, Ill. (Fremd H.S.)
Personal Bests:        1600: 4:19.97        3 miles XC: 14:58.15
--Two time State 3A qualifier at 1600 meters
--2013 State 3A individual qualifier in Cross Country

Matt Roe on Winter:  "Harry has really nice range.  He is going to be valuable in both relay and open events for us in the Big East.  He is developing into a strong cross country runner and could contribute down the road in that area as well."

Jackie Dubnicka, Hartland, Wis. (Arrowhead H.S.)

Personal Bests:        1600:  4:59.36        4kXC: 14:12.22
--Led Arrowhead to three  Wisconsin State 3A Cross Country titles (2011-2013)
--Earned All State  Cross Country honors all four year
--2012 Placed 2nd at State 3A Cross Country Championships
--2011 Placed 3rd at State 3A State Cross Country Championships
--2010 Placed 4th at 3A State Cross Country Championships
--2013 State finalist at 1600 meters
--National Honors Society
--Wisconsin Scholar Athlete nominee

Matt Roe on Dubnicka:  "Jackie has had an outstanding high school career.  She is a strong cross country runner and has good foot speed.  We expect that she will grow into a strong contributor as she adapts to collegiate running."

Rebekah Bosler, Carlsbad, Calif. (La Costa Canyon H.S.)

Personal Bests:        3200:  10:59.08        5kXC:  18:37.00
--2013 helped lead La Costa Canyon to 4th place finish at California State XC Championships (2A)
--2011-2012 helped lead Las Costa Canyon to back to back runner up State XC finishes (2A)
--2013 Earned All CIF honors on the track (3200 meters)
Matt Roe on Bosler:   "Rebekah comes from a strong distance tradition at La Costa Canyon.  Her college search was focused on elite Division I running programs with great academics.  She is a driven young woman who wants to surround herself with student-athletes with a similar mindset.  She will fit in well here at Butler."   

Laura Riches, Manchester, U.K. (Birmingham University)

Personal Bests:        1500: 4:30.96        3000: 9:43.43        3000 Steeplechase:  10:43.78
--2014 England Athletics U23 runner-up 3000 meter Steeplechase
--2013 England Athletics U23 3rd place 3000 meter Steeplechase
--2012 England Athletics U20 runner-up 3000 meter Steeplechase
--2012 European Mountain Running Championships 6th place    

Matt Roe on Riches:  "Laura is a strong runner with good range, and upside.  She has the potential to be an outstanding steeplechase athlete and contribute immediately on the cross country course.  I believe Laura will develop really nicely within our group."