Butler serves up EWU records at indoor championships


Trina Butler

Senior Dominique Butler competes in the triple jump during the Candy Cane XI Invitational at the EWU Fieldhouse on Nov. 30. Butler set two records at the Big Sky indoor championships last weekend in the pentathlon and triple jump. Her 39-foot-7-inch effort in the triple jump earned her third place in the competition.

By Drew Lawson, Reporter

Senior Dominique Butler broke two EWU records at the Big Sky Indoor Championships in Bozeman, Montana, on Feb. 21-22, stepping onto the podium with a third place finish in the triple jump.

Her 3,597 points in the pentathlon broke her own record she set earlier in the season, and her 39-foot-7-inch effort in the triple jump broke a record set in 2015 by Morena Mannucci. Butler placed sixth overall in the pentathlon.

Butler walked on at EWU her freshman year in 2014 after graduating from Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane. Her track career started her junior year of high school, when she competed in triple jump. Her cross-country and gymnastics background got her interested in track.

“I kind of wanted to try pole vault,” Butler said. “But then I was kind of afraid of it, so I started doing jumps instead.”

This is Butler’s fifth year on the EWU track team. Last year, she had to redshirt both the indoor and outdoor seasons due to multiple leg injuries.

“At the Candy Cane track meet last year I pulled my hamstring,” Butler said. “As I was coming back from that injury, I strained my calf and then I also had a cyst in my knee. It was kind of a big, long list, and I was out for nine months.”

To rehab her injuries, Butler spent time in the training room, pool and on a training bike. She discovered a skill for swimming through pool exercises, which helped her set a goal post-graduation.

“I kind of want to try a triathlon,” Butler said. “When I was coming back from my injury (and) swimming a lot, I realized I was kind of good at it.”

Butler said after graduation she plans on being a PE teacher and hopes to coach track.

EWU multi-events and jumps coach Dave Nielsen had positive things to say about the impact Butler has had on the Eagles’ track team during her five-year career.

“She’s obviously a great athlete, but she’s also a really nice person to have around,” Nielsen said. “A team leader by example. She doesn’t go out of her way to draw attention to herself. That comes because she’s just good.”

Nielsen was impressed by the way Butler handled herself through a season when she couldn’t play due to injury.

“Not being able to play is one of the tough things athletes go through,” Nielsen said. “She handled it pretty darn well.”

As Butler reflected on her now-complete indoor career, she remembered her journey from walk-on freshman to a school record holder.

“I struggled a lot my freshman year,” Butler said. “I guess the coaches just saw potential in (my) multi-events … I guess my favorite memory is that I broke the school record in pentathlon three times this year. I think the first time I did it was the most exciting because I wasn’t expecting it.”

When Butler first broke the pentathlon record this season at the Candy Cane XI Invitational on Nov. 30, women’s head coach Marcia Mecklenburg said the record wouldn’t last for long. She said that Butler’s performance at the indoor championships was a great way to cap off her indoor career.

“Breaking a school record in two different events at the Big Sky championships isn’t an easy thing to do,” Mecklenburg said. “Kudos to Dom.”

Butler and the EWU track team now look ahead to the outdoor season. The first meet is the Whitworth University Buc Scoring on March 16.