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NIU's Butler gives guidance

Published: Thursday, May 12, 2011 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Scott Walstrom – NIU Media Services)
Northern Illinois University track star Rasheta Butler, a school record-holder in the 100-meter dash, is “the type of athlete coaches die for,” NIU women’s track and field coach Connie Teaberry says.

DeKALB – A number of athletes find contentment in personal achievement. It’s hard not to when the mentality required involves going through others to obtain a goal.

This can be especially true in track and field, where personal accomplishments are glorified. Northern Illinois women’s track star Rasheta Butler is an exception, not that she’s lacking achievements: she holds the NIU record in the 100-meter dash, ranks second in the 100 and fifth in the 200 in the Mid-American Conference, is part of the NIU record-breaking for the 4x100 and 4x400 relays and holds a slew of other indoor track records. In addition to those accomplishments, Butler is a anchor for her team.

Huskies coach Connie Teaberry calls Butler a “mini-coach,” saying Butler has learned from alumni and athletes before her and gives advice and guidance to others, focusing on scoring points in the MAC Championships, which begins today at NIU,  as a team. Butler also seeks to bring others to nationals with her rather than being the only NIU representative.

“[She is] the type of athlete coaches die for,” Teaberry said. “She’s taken alumni advice in getting to this point and now with two seasons left … she has become one of the leaders on our team, making sure that the young ones underneath her have the same guidance that she had to get this point.”

Given her success in the sport, Butler also leads by example. Where others might be tempted to coast on their accomplishments, Butler continues to work.

“My drive comes from the love of the sport,” Butler said. “I’ve been running track since grade school. It’s all I’ve known. I ran summer track, I ran cross country, I ran indoor and track. I’m a very competitive person.

“When I step on the track … I’m there to compete, and I like to get better. I like to see advancement in your sport. If you want to do a sport on a D-I level, why not get better every time you step on the track? Why not break records? Why not be the best?”

Rochelle Muskeyvalley, Butler’s teammate and a grad student pursuing her Master’s in industrial engineering, said last year she was scheduled to practice alone. She decided to ask Butler to practice with her, saying Butler’s talents could help her get better.

“And I knew that she constantly gives 110 percent every day,” Muskeyvalley said. “She’s one of those people that has a lot of God-given talent and abilities but at the same time she also works very hard and is committed to what she does and has aspirations.”

Teaberry shared Muskeyvalley’s sentiments.

“Rasheta is one that never backs out of a workout – she always wants more,” Teaberry said. “One thing that we did this year was we really focused on training indoors for the 400 so that she could be stronger outdoors for the 100 and 200. She welcomed that without any complaints.”

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