Xavier XC runner

Rohbino

Well-known member
I just became aware of a former member of the women's soccer team at Xavier University that is now a member of the cross country team. From what I heard, Rachel Butler, a 2018 graduate of Dublin Jerome, had some concussions from playing soccer and after talking with her coach and doing some reflection, decided to stop playing. The soccer coach referred her to the cross country coach and she has done remarkably well.

Butler is now a senior at Xavier and from what I understand, has never competed in XC or track in the past. In the first cross race that she ever competed in, the Butler Twilight Meet, she took first place in a time of 17:19. This past weekend, in the gold division at the Louisville Classic, Butler took 9th place in 16:50. If you look at the early splits in the Louisville meet she was right at the front. Getting more racing experience will certainly help with that.

In both meets, Butler beat a lot of runners with a lot more experience than she has. It will be interesting to see what she can do when the distance increases to 6K at the Big East meet and the NCAA regional meet. This is a pretty amazing story and it will be fun to see what she does the remainder of the season.
 

JAVMAN83

Well-known member
Great story. Her success doesn't surprise me as I know that soccer conditioning over many years, which she had, provides a tremendous aerobic resevoir to draw from. Kudos to her and the coaches.
 

SLS

Active member
I had read the original article but wasn't aware of her performance at the Louisville Classic. Thanks for the update.
 

Rohbino

Well-known member
Great story. Her success doesn't surprise me as I know that soccer conditioning over many years, which she had, provides a tremendous aerobic resevoir to draw from. Kudos to her and the coaches.
While the soccer conditioning has definitely helped her base, the type of running in soccer is quite different than that of an XC race. There have been many instances of former soccer players that have transitioned well to XC and/or track and there are many that still compete in both sports simultaneously. Butler is at a different level, though. She has to have a tremendous genetic makeup to become as good as she has in such a short period of time. Her success is pretty surprising. She is running at a level that would allow her to run at many of the top D1 teams in the country. As I said, her transition to 6K will be interesting to see since all of this is new to her.

I was wondering if she will compete in track. Butler's first mile at Louisville was 5:10 so it seems as if she already has some good track speed. If she is a true senior and set to graduate this upcoming spring, competing in track may be off the table for her. Many seniors are sort of done in the last spring semester and want to relax, play, and have fun. There were many athletes that played fall sports last year and were seniors that were not pleased with their collegiate seasons being moved to the spring. That spring track season is tough for a lot of seniors.
 
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SLS

Active member
Will she have some years of CC eligibility left to run as a grad student? Not familiar with those rules and not motivated to try and find out, other than asking here. Anybody know?
 

Rohbino

Well-known member
Will she have some years of CC eligibility left to run as a grad student? Not familiar with those rules and not motivated to try and find out, other than asking here. Anybody know?
I am not 100% sure but I would assume that she will have eligibility remaining to run XC and even track if she chose to do that. Also, everyone got an extra year because of covid. I would think that she could use that eligibility at Xavier or another school if she wanted to. If she can remain successful and keep competing at a high level, there are quite a few teams that she would be able to run for. It is mostly going to depend on if she has the desire to compete at a high level. Another consideration would be if she were to go to graduate school if what she studied would allow her to compete. Some graduate programs are just too demanding for that.

With covid and extra eligibility, there are a lot of instances of athletes in all sports playing as grad students, either at the same school they did undergraduate studies at or another school, and also 5th-year seniors. There are some runners with Ohio connections that I can think of right away. Abby Nichols of Alter is running at Colorado as a graduate student after competing at Ohio State. She is doing very well at Colorado. Also at Colorado as grad students are India Johnson formerly of Michigan State and Davidson and Micaela Degenero formerly of Michigan and Granville. Aaron Bienenfeld is running at Oregon as a graduate student after being at Cincinnati. CJ Ambrosio of Ignatius is a graduate student at Duke. He also did his undergraduate studies there. If you look at the rosters of many schools you will see that there are many graduate transfers competing. This past year, the NCAA transfer portals had the highest numbers of athletes that they have ever had for all sports.
 
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