NEW ORLEANS - Senior middle distance runner Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (Dublin, Ireland) was named a first team All-American for the 2017-18 indoor season by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) in an announcement made on Monday morning. Cleirigh Buttner is coming off a runner-up finish in the 800 meters at last week’s NCAA Championships, and she is now an All-American for the sixth time in her collegiate career.
This is the second straight year that Cleirigh Buttner has been a first team All-American for the indoor season. In addition to placing second in the 800 meters at the NCAA meet, she also broke her own indoor school record with a time of 2:02.46 in the championship race on Saturday night. Cleirigh Buttner was second in her preliminary heat at the NCAA Championships with a time of 2:03.550 – she and another runner finished in a virtual tie and times were extended to the thousandths of a second – and then lowered that mark by more than a second in the final to notch her best individual NCAA finish.
Prior to Cleirigh Buttner’s arrival on campus, the old Villanova indoor record in the 800 meters was 2:04.69 and had stood for more than 25 years. Cleirigh Buttner has now eclipsed that standard six times, first setting a new record in February 2016 and since lowering her own record on two subsequent occasions. She holds the six fastest 800 meter times on the Wildcats indoor performance list.
Cleirigh Buttner had a typically sensational indoor season leading up to the NCAA Championships. She successfully defended her BIG EAST title in the 800 meters and set a conference meet record with a time of 2:03.89 in the final. She also anchored Villanova to a BIG EAST title in the 4x400 meter relay for the second straight year, and ran a split of 54.18 on the anchor leg to finish less than three-quarters of a second ahead of runner-up St. John’s at the finish line.
Earlier in the indoor season, Cleirigh Buttner posted times in both the 800 meters and the Mile which ranked among the national leaders. She ran the 800 meters in 2:04.16 at the Columbia Challenge in January, and lowered that time to 2:03.89 at the BIG EAST meet to enter the NCAA Championships ranked 10th among the 16 accepted entries. Cleirigh Buttner also recorded a time of 4:36.62 in the Mile at the David Hemery Invite in Boston in January. Her time ranked sixth in the nation at the time of the race and Cleirigh Buttner wound up ranked 18th on the national performance list at the end of the regular season.
Cleirigh Buttner has competed at the indoor NCAA Championships all four years of her collegiate career, including each of the last three seasons as an individual qualifier. She tallied an eighth place finish in the Mile at last year’s national meet and was previously ninth in the 800 meters as a sophomore two years ago. Cleirigh Buttner also ran the 800 meter leg of the distance medley relay as a freshman in 2015 when the Wildcats earned honorable mention All-America honors in the relay. She has also been an All-American in the 800 meters twice outdoors, earning second team honors in 2016 and honorable mention distinction last year.
Villanova has had a total of 179 indoor All-Americans, including at least one individual or relay finishing in the top eight of their respective event in each of the last 10 years. The total number also includes 18 All-America honors in the 800 meters. Cleirigh Buttner’s second place finish is the best by a Wildcats runner at the indoor NCAA Championships since 1988.