KENOSHA, WIS. - Butler pulled off a pair of third place finishes at the first BIG EAST Conference Championship in school history. The Butler men finished third of nine teams, while Butler's women came in third of 10 at the 2013 BIG EAST Cross Country Championship held at the Dannehl National Cross Country Course on Saturday (Nov. 2).
On the women's side, junior Mara Olson led the squad with an eighth-place finish in the 6k race in a time of 20:29. All-American senior Katie Clark clocked 20:35 for ninth, while sophomore Olivia Pratt was 14th with a time of 20:50. Senior Kirsty Legg crossed the line in 17th in a time of 21:10.
In her first race in a Butler uniform, freshman Lauren Wood was the fifth and final scorer for Butler, clocking 21:12 for 18th place. Freshman Colleen Weatherford was sixth for Butler on a time of 21:31, good for 22nd place.
"Colleen Weatherford had an amazing race," head coach Matt Roe said. "I think she was the most impressive. Definitely the race of the day. And having two freshmen show up and run for 18th and 22nd definitely stood out."
Providence senior All-American Emily Sisson, who was third runner up in 2011, won the individual title with a time of 19:49.
The Butler women, ranked seventh in the nation, finished with a score of 66 points. Fourth-ranked Providence won the meet with 28 points, placing all five of their runners in the top 13. Third-ranked and 2011 national champion Georgetown was second with 47, while Villanova, the 2009 and 2010 national champions, finished fourth with 93.
On the men's side, sophomore Tom Curr led the team with a runner-up individual finish in the 8k race with a time of 24:03, trailing Villanova freshman Patrick Tiernan by just 12 seconds in the race for the individual title.
"Tom Curr had a great race again today," Roe said. "He's continuing to progress."
Roe added that it's great to see athletes link multiple good races together, especially the post season.
Sophomore Erik Peterson was second for Butler, and clocked 24:21 for a seventh-place finish. Senior Tom Anderson was also in the top ten, finishing in ninth with a time of 24:26. And in his first race since returning from a calf strain, junior Harry Ellis finished 21st and fourth for the team, clocking 25:04.
"It was good to have Harry back," Roe said. "He definitely helped us beat Georgetown."
Sophomore James Martin rounded out the scorers with a time of 25:06, good for 22nd place.
The men's team scored 61 points in their first BIG EAST race. Twenty-sixth-ranked Villanova won the meet with 36 points, placing all five scorers in the top 14. Providence was second with 49. Butler defeated fourth-place and Georgetown by 15 points as well as fifth-place Marquette by 90.
"I like for us to be a little more aggressive," Roe said. "I'm pleased, but not all that surprised."
While not winning a title on Saturday snapped the 15-year-long win streak at conference meets for the men and for the women, there was much to cheer about. Both the men and women trailed only top teams, and both sides saw some impressive performances, according to Roe.
"To be ahead of some of these teams is really a good thing," Roe said, adding that these are historically talented, nationally-renowned programs, for which he has much respect.
"I thought we were solid," he said. "I think we got the results we were probably going to get on both sides. And it may very well play out to be helpful for nationals.
"Both teams are hungry and ready for regionals. We're excited about the challenge."
Butler's next meet is the Hoosier Invite next Saturday. The NCAA Division I Great Lakes Regional meet will be on November 23.
Contact: Bethany Werge (firstname.lastname@example.org)