Chugiak senior named Gatorade Alaska Runner of the Year
Gatorade has confirmed what everyone in Alaska aleady knew: Daniel Bausch is the best boys distance runner in the state.
The sports drink company named the Chugiak High senior its Alaska Boys Cross Country Athlete of the Year in a press release issued Monday.
“He’s overcome a lot in his life and has really been able to flourish this year,” Chugiak coach Melissa Hall said in the release.
Bausch dominated the Alaska cross country field this fall like few Alaska runners have. He led the Chugiak boys to a Cook Inlet Conference championhip in September, winning the 5-kilometer race by 10 seconds over Ethan Davis of West and Santiago Prosser of Dimond despite suffering from a head cold. The following week, a healthy Bausch ran away from the field by more than 30 seconds to claim his first Division I state championship.
His season didn’t end there. Bausch went on to finish eighth at the Foot Locker West Regionals in November, then posted a 16th place finish at the Foot Locker National Championships. At the time, longtime Alaska running coach Marcus Dunbar said Bausch’s performance put him among the state’s all-time elite.
“I would say that performance puts Daniel on my Alaskan All-Star fantasy team,” Dunbar told the Anchorage Daily News.
Bausch is also an accomplished track runner who won the 1,600 and 3,200 meter races at the 2018 state meet during his junior year at Chugiak.
West Valley senior Kendall Kramer was named the Girls Cross Country Athlete of the Year for the second straight season.
Baush is the first Chugiak cross country runner to win the Gatorade award since its inception in 2007 and the second Chugiak track and field athlete honored in the last two years; in 2018, CHS senior Emma Nelson was named the Alaska Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Bausch has yet to choose a collegiate running program. However, the B-average student who volunteers for local youth running programs has a bright future in the sport wherever he lands, Hall said.
“Daniel is a real student of the sport of running, and simply the most driven athlete I know,” she said.