March 14, 2015
Historic Day For Clan At Indoor Nationals As Lindsey Butterworth wins 800-metre title and Vugteveen becomes the first All-American for the men’s program.
BIRMINGHAM, AB -- Simon Fraser University’s Lindsey Butterworth took the lead right before the start of the final lap and then was never really challenged in winning the women’s 800 metre title in the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships Saturday at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
Butterworth won the event in a time of 2:08.44, securing SFU its first Top 10 finish in women’s indoor track and field since joining the NCAA in 2010.
“I was nervous all day long because I have never come into a race ranked No. 1 and there were a lot of expectations on me that I hoped to fulfill,” said Butterworth. “But as soon as I started warming up and was in my routine I felt really confident.”
With 300 metres to go, Butterworth made her move, confidently sprinting to the lead and never looked back. “I didn’t get a good start but I passed a few people during the first lap and then I knew it was time to go,” said Butterworth. “I had to go at that point to hold the lead.”
Butterworth finished a second in front of Taylor Stepanski of Saginaw Valley.
On Friday, Butterworth ran a strong anchor leg as SFU foursome of Jennifer Johnson, Chantel Desch, Paige Nock and Butterworth placed second in the women’s distance medley relay in a GNAC-record time of 11:28.28.
Those two events accounted for 18 of SFU’s 24 points, earning the Clan a seventh-place team finish. It is the Clan’s best finish ever at indoor nationals.
The Clan’s other six points came on a record performance, of sorts. Jennifer Johnson placed third in the 3,000 meters and was one of four women to break a 30-year-old record in the event.
Emily Oren of Hillsdale smashed the old mark of 9:30.34 set in 1985 running a time of 9:16.81 to finish first in the event ahead of teammate Kristina Galat, second in 9:20.46. Johnson’s time of 9:26.82 was a personal best and good for third place. Her time ranks second in GNAC history, topped only by a 9:23.24 by SPU’s Jessica Pixler in 2009.
Johnson was in a group of four runners out in front when Oren and Galat broke away with 400 metres to go. “When they went it was really early and I couldn’t cover,” said Johnson, a graduate student at SFU. “I wasn’t sure I had it in me at that point but we will meet again outdoors and we will see.”
“Prior to this year I was never able to achieve All-American status and now I’m a three-time All-American,” continued Johnson, who earned All-American honours in cross country in addition to the 3,000 and DMR relay on Saturday. “It’s a dream come true.”
Sophomore Rebecca Bassett, ranked 16th entering the 3,000 metres, placed ninth by running a personal best, finishing in 9:41.68
The other historic moment for the Clan came on the men’s side when senior Travis Vugteveen finished sixth in the mile in a time of 4:12.49 behind Oliver Aitchison of Adams State, first in 4:09.39. Vugteveen made history as the men's program's first athlete to earn All-American honors in track and field.
“I hoped it could be me who would be the first and I feel lucky to have accomplished it,” said Vugteveen. “I had a great pre-race talk with Brit and she really helped me to believe in myself.
Vugteveen redshirted last season to focus on training after struggling with injuries his first three years. This season he qualified for cross country nationals and now has earned All-American honours.
During the race Saturday Vugteveen started off last and slowly picked off runners as he made his way towards the leaders.
“It wasn’t his smartest race getting caught in back of the pack to start but I think he just believed in himself, and believed it was possible and that carried him to the finish,” said Townsend. “It was a historic achievement for our program and I am happy that a great leader with a good work ethic was able to achieve this mark for SFU.”
Also earning All-American honors Saturday were Butterworth, and the other two members of the women’s distance medley relay, Desch, and Nock.
Butterworth is the second Clan athlete to capture the NCAA D2 indoor 800-metre title, following in the footsteps of former Clan runner Helen Crofts.
“I think Lindsey has really learned a lot training with Helen and Jessica (Canadian Olympian Jessica Smith) every day and they have helped to mentor her into the runner we saw today,” said Clan head coach Brit Townsend. “At first Lindsey had to fight her way to keep up with those two in training but now she has earned her place and together they make each other better.”
--With files from GNAC Sports Information
NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field (March 13-14 at Birmingham, Alabama)
Men’s Individual Results:
Mile – 6. Travis Vugteveen, SFU, 4:12.49.
5000 – 12. Oliver Jorgensen, SFU, 14:42.95.
Women’s Individual Results:
800 – 1. Lindsey Butterworth, SFU, 2:08.44.
3000 – 3. Jennifer Johnson, SFU, 9:26.82; 9. Rebecca Bassett, SFU, 9:41.68;
Distance Medley Relay - 2. Simon Fraser (Jennifer Johnson, Chantel Desch, Paige Nock, Lindsey Butterworth) 11:28.28;
Mile (prelims) – 13. Rebecca Bassett, SFU 4:56.86.
Sports Information Director
SFU Clan Athletics
(C) 604-354-CLAN (2526)