Bulldogs Face First Atlantic 10 Conference Championship
INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – Butler will try to continue a long history of conference success when it competes in its first Atlantic 10 Conference Cross Country Championship on Saturday, Oct. 27. The league meet, hosted by Temple, will be held at Belmont Plateau at West Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, Pa. The women's 5K race will start at 10 a.m. (ET), and will be followed by the men's 8K race at 10:45 a.m.
Butler, which joined the A-10 last summer, was the most dominant cross country program in the Horizon League for more than a decade. The Bulldogs captured their 14th consecutive men's cross country championship last fall, while taking the women's crown for the ninth time in 10 years. Butler owns Horizon League cross country records for most men's team titles (14), most men's individual titles (14), most women's team titles (13) and most women's individual titles (10).
The Bulldogs will be one of 16 teams competing in this year's A-10 Cross Country Championship, the largest field ever for the conference. La Salle swept both the men's and women's titles a year ago and was the preseason favorite to repeat in both races this year.
"Up front, it's about the best the Atlantic 10 has ever been," said Butler head coach Matt Roe of the conference field. "It's a very senior-laden league with several outstanding individuals. It will be a very competitive race on both sides."
Roe will take a deep and talented women's team to the league meet. Butler's lineup includes a pair of former league champions, a two-time league runner-up and three additional all-conference runners. Junior Katie Clark finished runner-up in both the 2009 and 2010 Horizon League championships, before sitting out last season as a redshirt. Junior Kirsty Legg, also a redshirt a year ago, won the 2010 Horizon League individual title, while senior Lauren McKillop won the 2009 league crown. Junior Shelbi Burnett, third league individual champ, won't run for the Bulldogs this weekend.
Roe's lineup also includes senior all-league performers Kaitlyn Love and Alyson Fosnot, sophomore all-conference runner Mara Olson, sophomore Erica Carlson and freshman Olivia Pratt.
In the men's race, Butler features two-time Horizon League runner-up Ross Clarke and talented sophomore Tom Curr, who placed third at last year's Horizon League Championship. Also on hand are senior Kevin Olblinger and sophomore Harry Ellis, both second team all-league runners in 2011, and senior Matt Proctor, a second team all-league performer in 2010.
Rounding out Butler's lineup for this weekend's race will be junior Tom Anderson, sophomores Kodi Mullins and Billy Klimczak and freshmen Erik Peterson and Chris Kelsey.
Butler's men and women both were ranked sixth in the most recent Great Lakes Region poll. Butler's women additionally were receiving votes in the national cross country poll.