New Prague senior JT Butler is a prime example of getting better with age.

The sprinter will culminate his high school career with an appearance in the Class 2A boys’ track and field meet Friday and Saturday at Hamline University in St. Paul. He will be competing in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.

“This spring, we’ve had JT focus almost entirely on sprinting,” New Prague coach Nick Meyer said. “Through his hard work in the offseason and throughout the past 12 weeks, he has become one of the very best sprinters in the Missota Conference and section.

“He is very driven and coachable, and he’s been working closely with our sprints coaches [Johnny Josephson, Mike Hougen and Kari Schroeder] to improve his start and drive phase.”

Butler won the 200 with a time of 22.35 seconds in the Section 2 meet. He was third in the 100 with a time of 11.06, but qualified for the state meet by standard.

“He set our school record in the 100 early in the season and qualified for the Hamline Elite Meet,” Meyer said. “Since then, he’s just continued to get better. He’s improved by nearly half of a second this spring in the 100 and close to a second and a half in the 200.

“I am very excited to see what he can do against the best in the state this coming Friday and Saturday.”

Here is a closer look at Butler, who was also a wide receiver on the Trojans’ football team:

 

Q: The best movie I’ve seen in the past year?

A: “Captain Phillips.”

 

Q: How did you get started in sports?

A: I started track my sophomore year after some high school coaches I was close to told me I was pretty fast and should really consider running track. Ever since I was little I have played football. I really enjoyed it throughout high school, and I’m very excited to continue playing in college. [He will play at St. Cloud State University].

 

Q: At my first varsity practice, I was …

A: … very observant. I was a sophomore when I competed in my first varsity events and there were some really great upperclassmen who I learned a lot from.

 

Q: What is your favorite meal before a meet or game?

A: The night before track meets and football games I usually eat spaghetti.

 

Q: To get focused for a meet, I …

A: … visualize my races and listen to music.

 

Q: What is your most memorable moment as a high school athlete?

A: Qualifying for Class 2A state meet in the 100- and 200-meter dashes this track season.

 

Q: How do you balance school and sports during the year?

A: Staying organized is the easiest way to manage playing a sport and school work during the school year.

 

Q: When you have time off during vacation, what do you like to do?

A: Spend time with family and friends.

 

Q: In 10 years, I hope I’m …

A: … successful in my career.

 

Q: What is the best sports advice you ever received?

A: Believe in myself, and chase my dreams.

RON HAGGSTROM