SkyView Academy senior Ben Butler was motivated this season.
Butler won the Class 3A individual cross-country championship for the second consecutive year and was tabbed as the Colorado Community Media South Metro Boys Cross-Country Runner of the …
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Butler won the Class 3A individual cross-country championship for the second consecutive year and was tabbed as the Colorado Community Media South Metro Boys Cross-Country Runner of the Year.
He was determined for a couple reasons. Craig Wagner took over as Eagles coach just before the season. Wagner was Butler’s third coach in his high school career.
And Butler’s experience running in September for Team USA at the World Mountain Running Championship in Wales gave him the encouragement that he could win another state title.
“The switch of coaches and coming into this season with a new coach was kind of rough at first,” explained Butler. “I wanted to get out there every day and race as hard as I possibly could for the team, hoping my old coaches could see where they have helped take us. I want to give them a lot of credit because all three of the coaches I’ve had have done a good job.
“The second thing that really motivated me was that I realized I could compete against guys that I never really thought of myself as being able to compete against. After getting selected to Team USA and running against some of the best in the world, I had a great race there (ninth out of 100 junior runners). I realized that I could take that same approach home and I could run better than I ever had. I just brought that back home and felt like I’ve been on fire.”
Butler, who was last spring’s Class 3A track 3,200-meter champ, won the Metro League and 3A Region 3 cross-country titles before finishing in 15:50 at the state meet to easily win his second state title.
“I felt blessed that God has given me the ability to lead the team in a way that is special,” said Butler. “I had a great series of races, winning at league, regionals and the state meet. Just seeing those improvements from last year means a lot, having gone through several different styles of coaching and still being able to run better than I ever have before. I feel that I’m in the best shape ever. It’s just been such a fun ride this year.”
Wagner admires the desire and leadership of Butler, who signed a letter of intent to run at Oklahoma State.
“Ben is the hardest-working runner I have ever coached and still finds a way to go above and beyond,” Wagner said. “He inspires his teammates to greatness and never backs down from a challenge. His attitude is all about the team and what the team can do together. He is a great leader, motivator and, of course, runner.
“Ben has a great future ahead of him as he excels in academics as well as running. He embodies the whole vision of what SkyView Academy wants to achieve with all our students. Needless to say, we are all proud of Ben Butler.”
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