That Alycia Butterworth is on the fast track to success comes as no big surprise to those that know the dedicated teenager, and the University of Idaho is helping pave the way.
The Ballenas Secondary School grad is back home with her first year of University athletics under her belt, feeling great about her game.
Butterworth wasn’t back on Canadian soil for long when she qualified for the Canadian National team selected to compete in the Pan American Junior Track and Field Championships in Florida next week.
Alycia punched her ticket to the PanAms at the Canadian Championships in Winnipeg where she set a new record and finished first in the 2,000 meter Steeplechase with a time of 6:46.02
“To be honest I was hoping for a bit of a stronger field to challenge me more but I ran a better time than I was shooting for going in … I felt really good, really strong.”
Strong is right. She destroyed her previous best time by 14 seconds, and finished 17 seconds faster than the second place finisher. She knew going into the race she would need to finish in the top two and meet the Canadian standard to qualify for the team.
Alycia will be competing in the Women’s 3,000m Steeplechase at the Jr. Pan Ams.
According to Spencer Farrin with the University of Idaho Athletics, “the biggest distinction she earned this year is that she became the first freshman woman in Idaho track and field history to qualify for NCAAs.”
Dubbed “Butters” by her teammates, Alycia qualified for the NCAA Quarterfinal Round in the 3000m steeplechase.
As a member of the Vandals, Alycia’s season at U of I is composed of three different parts.
The season starts with Cross Country, and Alycia posted her top finish of the season at the All-Idaho Cup, where she took 24th overall with a 5k time of 19:36.34.
That time helped the Vandal women claim the team title. She finished 43rd at the Sundodger Invitational with a time of 23:02.38 on the 6k course and ran a 19:26.69 on the 5k course at the Charles Bowles Invitational. That helped Idaho’s women take the team title there as well. Alycia was named a WAC Fall All-Academic.
The indoor season saw Alycia compete in distance events. Highlights included a career-best 5:12.74 for a ninth place finish in the 1 Mile run at the WAC Championships, and posted an indoor career best of 10:46.74 in the 3000m at the UW Indoor Open Feb. 13. She earned WAC Winter All-Academic honours.
The outdoor season saw Alycia join teammate Hannah Kiser as the first freshman women in Idaho track and field history to compete at an NCAA meet. Alycia took 37th in the quarterfinal round of the 3000m steeplechase at the NCAA West Preliminary with a time of 10:39.71. She went on to earn first-team All-WAC honours in the steeplechase at the WAC Championships after running a 10:51.95 and taking second place.
She also scored a point in the 1500m at the WAC Championships with a career-best time of 4:40.29, and she ran a 10:37.27 in the steeplechase at the Oregon Twilight on May 6, to move into sixth all-time at Idaho. Butters capped it off by earning WAC Spring All-Academic honours.
“It was pretty impressive just how she improved from cross country season through outdoor track and field this year,” Farrin told The News from Idaho this week, pointing out that “from the first race of the season through the conference championship meet, every one of her races got progressively faster.”
“University is so much fun, and the team is amazing,” Alycia said when the subject finally got around to her first year away from home on a four year track and field scholarship.
“I’m so happy I got to go there. It’s helped me so much, as an athlete … it’s helped me grow up … I love it, it’s a blast.”