By Michael Comodeca
As February winds down, so does the indoor portion of Cleveland State University women’s track and field schedule.
During the month of February, Cleveland State competed in three tournaments. The meets took place in Akron, Geneva and Kent, Ohio. In addition, on Saturday, Feb. 24 and Sunday, Feb. 25, they will travel to Youngstown, Ohio for the Horizon League Indoor Championship.
On Saturday, Feb. 3, Cleveland State headed south to the University of Akron’s campus to compete in the Akron Invitational. During this meet, the team was paced by senior Samantha Butterbaugh.
Butterbaugh stood out amongst her teammates by setting a program record in mile run for the Blue Division. She out-paced all participants with a time of 5:10.96.
As the race started, Butterbaugh explained she was nervous because her legs did not feel normal. However, she stayed focused and remained positive prior to the race.
Once the race got underway, Butterbaugh didn’t start out fast like other participants because she wanted to make sure she had energy to finish out the competition.
She made her move around the 600-meter mark to take the lead, and knew she had to keep it up to maintain it.
“During the race, I started out in the back because most people go out too fast and slow down at the end,” Butterbaugh said. “Going into the last lap I took the lead and knew I had to keep going in order to stay.”
After the race, Butterbaugh was applauded by her teammates and coach for her accomplishment. She was even recognized by runners from Ashland as they acknowledged her program record.
“After the race, my coach and teammates were excited and congratulated me,” Butterbaugh said. “The coolest thing was when I was walking back to put my sweats on, a few girls from Ashland University gave me a big congrats, which was rewarding for me because they were my sister’s teammates.”
As a senior, many of Butterbaugh’s teammates look up to her, and she relishes the role of being a team leader. The team even calls her the “team mom” because she is always prepared for any situation.
The Spire Invitational held in Geneva was a step-up in competition, but that did not phase the team as they still posted impressive times.
Cleveland State’s best finish was from Anna Brandt, who finished 14th in the 1,000-meter run.
The Distance Medley Relay team came in second with a time of 12:54.96.
The team was comprised of Brandt, Butterbaugh, Samantha Meyer and Chan’lier Myers.
The team sent only a small group of athletes to Kent, Ohio for the Kent State Tune-Up on Feb. 17.
Butterbaugh and the team are eager for the Horizon League Championship.
“I’m really excited, and I think we are running well,” Butterbaugh said. “The team has been putting in a lot of hard work, and we have been having some really good workouts, and I think when conference gets here, we will be ready to break our already broken records.”