Cross Country: Second spot suits Canal Winchester's Bonnie Butler just fine

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Canal Winchester's Bonnie Butler finished 54th at the Division I regional cross country meet Oct. 31 at Pickerington North as the Indians placed 14th of 17 teams.

When she met Allena Klamorick on the first day of cross country practice in seventh grade at Canal Winchester Middle School, Bonnie Butler never could have envisioned the tandem they would become through their senior seasons. 

“I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence in middle school, but I realized (our) freshman and sophomore years that we could really be a pretty powerful duo,” Butler said. “I’ve always known Allena has been a little stronger runner than me. She has some incredible talent, but I know I can stay right up there with her.”

Klamorick and Butler had been the team’s first and second runners, respectively, in 29 consecutive races in which both had participated since the beginning of the 2018 season. The exception was the Newark Invitational their sophomore year, a race Klamorick, a Lipscomb commit, missed and Butler finished eighth overall.

That also was the case at the Division I regional Oct. 31 at Pickerington North as Klamorick finished 26th in 20 minutes, 15.1 seconds and Butler was 54th in 20:45.6.

The girls team finished 14th of 17 teams with 313 points. Hilliard Davidson (42) won the title with Lancaster (135), Dublin Coffman (140), Upper Arlington (141) and Gahanna (181) securing the state berths. 

Butler’s career-best time was 19:43.8, set Oct. 5, 2019, during the Legends Cross Country Meet at Trumbull County Fairgrounds.

“She’s a great competitor. She’s very strong,” coach Michelle Klamorick said. “She is a great leader, and she just gives her all all the time. They are good friends on and off the course, which I think adds to their dynamic when they get together. They both encourage each other and inspire each other. They just want to help each other. They just get along and I think that’s what drives them.”

Butler and coach Klamorick fondly – and with a few laughs – remembered the only time she beat Allena Klamorick. It was in their first varsity race as freshmen, the New Albany Invitational on Aug. 21, 2017.

Allena Klamorick lost one of her shoes while running, leading her to wear a T-shirt that says “one-shoe wonder,” a nickname she still maintains. Butler finished 42nd in 23:46, seven spots and 17 seconds ahead of Klamorick.

“It’s a really, really rocky course,” Butler said. “She has that bright blonde hair with the white bow; it’s very easy to spot her. I saw her and said this feels wrong. I’d never beaten her before that, so something was happening.

"I looked down and she only had one shoe on. It was not my talent that beat her," she said with a laugh. "But there was some luck.”

Butler and Klamorick both have northeast Ohio roots. Butler moved to Canal Winchester from the Cleveland suburb of Chagrin Falls in sixth grade, one year before the Klamoricks moved in from Trumbull County, about 60 miles from Cleveland.Butler does not plan to run cross country or track and field in college, instead of concentrating on majoring in either biology or pre-medicine. She does want to compete in a marathon, however. 

“I love running distance,” Butler said. “But I won’t start training for a marathon until track season is over.”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave