ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — Chugiak High School’s Daniel Bausch recently qualified for the Foot Locker Cross-Country National Championships after his 8th place finish in regional competition, crossing the finish line in 15:46.4 seconds.
“Huge sense of relief,” said Bausch.
Earlier in the year, the state champion had failed to finish his regional race for the Nike nationals, and said this was a back-up plan. Despite being his back-up plan, he was pleased with the result, and said he felt he could have gone faster since he took a conservative approach.
The Chugiak senior also made a little history becoming just the fourth Alaskan to ever qualify for Foot Locker National Championships. The three other Alaska runners who have qualified for nationals include Miguel Gomez, Trevor Dunbar, and Levi Thomet.
“I think it’s a little bit deceiving because those runners are on a different level then I am, they were a lot better than I am,” Bausch said. “Just to be in that group is pretty exciting.”
Bausch started becoming a first place fixture in the spring semester of his junior year, winning state track and field titles in the 1600 meter and 3200 meter events. Just months later he would continue his 2018 tear, winning a state championship in cross-country running — a far cry from his sixth place finish at state cross-country in 2017. He chalks up his recent successes to a little bit of luck and great coaching.
“A lot of things came together so I can do these things, and hopefully I can continue to improve over the rest of my senior year," Bausch said.
It’s already onto the next race for Bausch with nationals this weekend. The Chugiak runner feels he has a good shot to finish in the top-15 which would earn him all-American status.
“It’s a tactical race so slower runners can do really, really well,” said Bausch about nationals.
One perk of qualifying for nationals is that everybody earns an all-expenses paid trip to the race in San Diego, CA. Foot Locker will be streaming the boys nationals race at 9:00 am AKDT.