Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Float like a butterfly, sting like a Bee

When freshman sprinter Nick Bee first stepped onto the track in September, it was if he was a man in a new country.

Having come to UW-Whitewater to play football in fall 2008, Bee hadn’t run for a track and field team since his sophomore year in high school.
As he made his way down into the blocks, head coach Mike Johnson noticed something: Bee didn’t even have the blocks set up correctly.

Despite only having one year of experience with the sport, freshman Nick Bee took third place in the 55-meter dash at the national championships last weekend. Photo by Ryan Kolter

Yet somehow, this rookie sprinter from Elgin, Ill. finished the indoor season as a UW-Whitewater record holder in two events (55-meter and 60-meter dash) and an All-American and third-place finisher in the 55-meter dash at the national meet last weekend at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.

Bee’s finish helped the Warhawks finish tied for 10th at the national meet.

So how did Bee, who was completely new sport, all of a sudden rise to the top of his sport and run a 6.39 at nationals, just .02 seconds short of being a national champion?

He said he used the basic mantras any athlete would use to achieve success: hard work, dedication and a natural talent sprinkled on the top of it all.

“I really didn’t have high expectations coming into the season,” Bee said. “I didn’t think there was a chance in the world I’d be an All-American.”

Bee made the choice to leave behind a promising career as a wide receiver in football after tearing two ligaments in his hand in spring 2010. He set a school record for receiving yards at Larkin High School his senior year and was the owner of a 4.50 40-yard dash time.

Despite this impressive résumé, Bee said there was no doubt he would make the switch to track and field this year.

“[The injury] was a factor but mostly the sport just matched well with my skill set,” Bee said.

Head coach Mike Johnson said he had no idea what to expect from Bee in his first season as a track and field athlete. Johnson said Bee told him one day he wanted to try out for the team and things have taken off since then.

“He’s got one of those contagious kind of attitudes,” Johnson said. “He doesn’t use his mouth to talk and he’s a lead by example type of guy. He’s one of the great representations of when you work hard, good things will happen.”

Senior distance runner Brian Butzler went into the national meet expecting to win.

He had this expectation despite being seeded No. 8 in the 5,000 meter run.

Even though he didn’t win it all, Butzler said he came out the meet feeling as good as he ever has with his performance in a national meet.


Butzler’s time of 14:21.70 at nationals shattered the previous record set by Jeremy Burks in 2001.
Butzler was an All-American in cross-country in 2006 and indoor track and field in 2007.

His career was interrupted as he served with the 826 Ordinance Company in Afghanistan from January 2009 to January 2010.
Johnson said there was no better person this could have happened to.

“[The race] could have panned out differently but you definitely can’t be upset with how it did pan out,” Johnson said.

Butzler said he will use his finish in the 5k as extra motivation for himself in the outdoor season.

“This race gives the confidence,” Butzler said. “That race proved to me that I can close well. So maybe next time I can go out harder and finish just as fast. It worked out well for me. That was what I needed.”

Johnson said although the team could have finished better, he couldn’t have been any more satisfied with the way his athletes performed.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the guys because they went out and competed hard,” Johnson said. “My hat go off to those guys.”

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Founded 1901
Float like a butterfly, sting like a Bee