Skagway’s boys cross country team. From left: Gavin Goebel, Isaac Morris, Silas Myers, Tanner Hansen, Coach Blake Bottle, Wyatt Belisle and Danny Brady. PHOTOS BY JEFF BRADY
By DAN FOX
Skagway put two of its runners through their paces at the ASAA Cross Country State Championships in Anchorage at the end of September. Wyatt Belisle and Danny Brady ran in the final competition of the season, with Belisle placing 48th and Brady 21st out of almost 150 runners; Brady’s finish time landed him in the third place spot for the 1A division.
“It went really well,” cross country coach Blake Bottle said about the state competition.
Bottle said Belisle was hit with an asthma attack at the beginning of the race, but still finished in the top third of racers.
“When you go to state, it’s the best runners, so it’s super competitive, and so for him to put up that finish with having an asthma attack at the very beginning is pretty impressive,” Bottle said. Wyatt finished with a time of 18:39 and Brady finished at the 17:45 mark.
Going into the Region V Championship meet on Sept. 21, Bottle said he knew Brady would qualify for state, and had hopes that Belisle would as well. A goal of Belisle’s was to make state this year; last season, Bottle said Belisle had missed qualifying for that final competition by “one second.”
“I was really nervous for Wyatt, but he did great…and then Danny got eighth,” Bottle said, adding that the other runners were “really competitive” at the regional competition.
“My third and fourth runners, Silas [Myers] and Gavin [Goebel] were right in the middle of the pack, and they kept moving up and they ran pretty competitively,” Bottle said.
All of the runners hit a personal record at some point in the season, and each overcame individual hurdles to make it a memorable season.
“Isaac [Morris], first year ever running, he’s built like a sprinter and he hates long distance, but he still did it,” Bottle said.
Bottle called the team’s lone female runner, Eliza Myers, a “warrior,” and said Tanner Hansen had some of the most improvement through the season.
“He [Hansen] PR’d each race and took a few minutes off, which is a big deal,” Bottle said. “And then by the end Silas was competing for a spot to qualify for state. He was on the bubble, and so he didn’t make it, but he’s only a sophomore so he’ll be carrying the torch the next couple years.”
Bottle said Goebel made improvements throughout the entire season, and that he and Myers will be two returning runners to watch next year.
“I think it will be Silas’s team next year,” Bottle said. “I think he should be going to state, probably competing for a pretty good spot. But then Gavin too, he didn’t have as good of a year as he wanted, but he’s a pretty fast runner…and he comes from a pretty good running family.
“So I expect he’ll take a step forward.”
The team was made of all seniors and sophomores; Brady, Belisle and Hansen will be graduating come May. This season was Bottle’s first go at coaching cross country, and he said he enjoyed the experience and the time spent working with the runners.
“Coaching was my favorite part about being up here, and I do look forward to – if I’m still in Skagway – then I would look forward to coaching again,” Bottle said.
Region V Championships
8th • Danny Brady • 17:59.13
12th • Wyatt Belisle • 18:28.35
29th • Silas Myers • 19:41.69
47th • Gavin Goebel • 21:33.21
51st • Tanner Hansen • 21:56.40
65th • Isaac Morris • 25:25.48
ASAA State Championships
21st • Danny Brady • 17:45
48th • Wyatt Belisle • 18:39