Tuesday, August 6, 2013

NCAA XC Top 31 Countdown: Women's #17- Butler

Editor's note: For the next month, The Wood Report will be counting down projected team finishes in this year's NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, IN.

Head Coach: Matt Roe (7th Season)
2012 National Finish- 29th

Key Returners from 2012
  • Katie Clark (Sr., 4:17 1500m, 9:22 Open 3k, 15:43 5k , 33:36 10k)
  • Mara Olson (Jr., 9:29 Open 3k, 16:08 5k)
  • Olivia Pratt (So.,  16:30 5k, 35:32 10k)
  • Kirsty Legg (Jr., 4:16 1500m, 9:19 Open 3k)

Impact Recruits/Transfers
  • Lauren Wood (Fr., 4:52 1600m, 10:21 3200m, NXN Nats Qualifier '12- 65th)
  • Katie Good (Jr., From the UK, 9:43 Open 3k, 16:32 5k)

Season Preview

A 29th finish at NCAAs in 2012 is just the motivation a team this talented needs in order to take things to the next level. Coach Matt Roe has brought together a team that is capable of some very scary things in 2013 if all of the pieces come together. With the amount of quality athletes that Coach Roe has returning and of those incoming, Butler is a team to watch out for in this upcoming cross country year. 

Katie Clark is the team leader and is one of the strongest distance runners on the track returning for the 2013 season. Clark has proven herself on the national level in both the 5k and the 10k, qualifying for NCAA Outdoors in both this past spring. She is also one of the top returning All-Americans from cross country in 2012 and Clark will prove to be a very key low-stick for the Bulldogs. 

Without a doubt, Butler has an incredible no. 1 runner in Clark, luckily for the Bulldogs, they bring back a pack of very equally talented ladies that at any race could be their no's. 2-5.

Mara Olson is coming off of the best track season of her career where she made huge strides (literally) in the 5000m and the 1500m. Her 16:08 5k PR is second only to Clark and this momentum coming off of this season will help her solidify a spot up front in their pack. 

Kirsty Legg spent the majority of the 2012 xc season in the no. 2 or no. 3 spot and should find that spot her home again in 2013. Legg brings the consistency needed to keep the 1-5 spread close, especially considering how good Katie Clark really is. Olivia Pratt is also a solid pack runner with good track PRs. 

A few incoming athletes will also add to an already very good team. Katie Good of the U.K. is an experienced cross country runner that will help increase the depth on this team. Lauren Wood is a wildcard true freshman that could make an immediate impact in the top five. Wood has run 10:21 for 3200m and ran pretty well at NXN Nationals this past year. This is quality high level cross country experience that should translate over to the NCAA scene. 

Being in the same Region as Toledo, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Michigan, the Bulldogs will need to be prepared to run well when it matters most in November. The key will be to not repeat last year's scenario where Butler ran so well at the Regional that the wheels came off at Nats. If they can time they peak right this year and stay healthy, this is a definitely top-20 if not top-15 caliber team. 

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