Cross Country: Butler keeps up with alumni

Monday, September 8 2008 - EIU Walt Crawford Alumni Meet - Brad Butler

O'Grady finished second in alumni meet

By: Brandy Provaznik/Staff Reporter

Posted: 9/8/08

Head cross country coach Geoff Masanet wanted his team to run in packs and stick together in Saturday's alumni meet and for the most part that is what they did.

One runner, however, senior Brad Butler, got the go ahead from Masanet to go all out and he managed to stay with a pack for the majority of the race, but it wasn't with other runners from his team.

Butler's pack contained three Olympic marathon trials qualifiers and one Olympic 1500-meter trials qualifier.

"Brad sure had his hands full today," Masanet said. "He ran really well and composed with them for a good part of the race. I think he made them proud being able to stick with them as long as he did."

Butler finished in fourth place overall with a time of 20 minutes and 9 seconds, only one second behind the third place finisher and 11 seconds behind the first place finisher.

EIU alumnus Jeff Jonaitis earned first place on the men's side with a time of 19:58.

"I think they were just out there getting a hard run in, they weren't going all out for sure," Butler said. "Those guys were mostly just trying to help pull me along but I was pretty happy I could hang on for that long with them."

Butler said the other guys put in a hard move, or surge with two miles to go and he stayed with them for one mile but fell behind a little in the last mile.

"They put in like a 10 second increase in that next mile so I wasn't quite able to hang on then," Butler said.

The top finisher in the women's race was EIU alumn Nicole Flounders, with a time of 12:33.

Followed by current Panther, junior, Erin O'Grady with a time of 12:45.

The men's race on Saturday was 4.4 miles total and the women's race was 2.1 miles, which is about a mile difference from what they normally run.

In regular season meets the men run an 8K or about 5 miles and the women run a 5K, which is roughly 3 miles.

Masanet wanted the meet to be low key and sort of a dry run of the normal meet atmosphere.

Freshman runner Claire Dau said the meet helped to relieve some of the anxiety that her and some of her younger teammates were experiencing.

"I was very nervous and some of the other freshman were too," Dau said. "The fact that there were no other teams there, it was just the alumni and just our team, it helped us get rid of some of that nervousness. It was good to get in the routine of things and get a clearer idea of what we need to do next week."

Masanet also said the alumni meet is important because it shows the current runners how much of a tradition Eastern cross-country has.

Senior Mario Castrejon said he likes seeing these people that are still training and running long after graduation."

Even after they graduate and get out of here and get a job and their lives are pretty solid they still have a place in their hearts for Eastern and for running in general and that is pretty inspiring," Castrejon said.

Brandy Provaznik can be reached at 581-7944 or at

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