Butler's strong performance at the 2008 Great Lakes Region men's cross country race has been rewarded with an at-large bid to the 2008 NCAA Men's Cross Country Championship on Monday, Nov. 24. The Bulldogs were one of 13 Division I teams to receive an at-large invitation to the national meet.
The top two teams from each of nine regions received automatic bids to the national meet. The remaining 13 spots were selected by the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Track and Field Committee. Butler finished third at the Great Lakes Region meet and was one of two teams from the race to receive an at-large berth. Notre Dame finished fourth at the Great Lakes Region and claimed the other berth.
"We had our best race so far this year," said Butler head coach Matt Roe of his team's performance at the Great Lakes Region. "We ran a strong tactical race and we were able to beat several teams that were ranked higher than us in the region. Our guys did a really good job of being disciplined and building confidence for the last month and it really showed."
The Bulldogs will be returning to the national meet as a team for the first time since 2006. Butler made three consecutive national meet appearances between 2004 and 2006, placing fourth in the 2004 meet and 25th in both 2005 and 2006.
Leading the Bulldogs' bid will be senior All-American Andy Baker, who will be competing in the national championship for a second straight year. Baker, who finished runner-up in the Great Lakes Region meet, placed 28th at last year's NCAA Cross Country Championship, after earning an at-large berth as an individual. Baker is a two-time Horizon League individual champ.
Also making a second appearance in the national meet will be redshirt-sophomore Justin Roeder, who was a member of Butler's 2006 squad. He placed 18th at the Great Lakes Region meet this year.
The Bulldogs had two other runners place in the "Top 20" at the Great Lakes Region meet. Junior Tom Boardman crossed the finish line in 16th place and junior Rob Mullett was 19th. The two, along with Baker and Justin Roeder, were named to the All-Great Lakes Region team. Butler's fifth scoring runner at the regional meet was junior Kris Gauson, who placed 49th. Senior Tommy Davies and sophomore Madison Roeder rounded out Butler's top seven runners.
The NCAA Cross Country Championships will be hosted by Indiana State at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course, located at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute. The women's championship race will begin at 12:08 p.m. (ET), followed by the men's race at 12:48 p.m.