Ben Butler, a senior at SkyView Academy who was the individual champion at last season's Class 3A cross country state meet, competed at the World Mountain Running Championships in Wales on Saturday.
Butler — who also won the 3,200-meter race at the 3A state track meet, and was second in the 1,600 — was one of seven junior runners selected by the Mountain Ultra Trail Executive Committee of USA Track and Field. He finished ninth in the junior men's race Saturday in a field of more than 100.
"I began looking for different ways to represent the United States and decided to try for the Junior Mountain Running Team, but wasn't sure I had a real chance," Butler said in a release from the school.
Butler was notified late at night on July 25 that he would be part of the Junior US Mountain Running team. To be eligible, male athletes aged 16-19 must race a 5K road or cross country time in under 16:45. Butler ran 16:18.2 in winning 3A cross country last season.
"After that call," Butler said, "I couldn't sleep because I was so excited to be able to represent the U.S. in this national race. This opportunity is a dream coming true for me."
The course at the World Mountain Running Championships in Wales was a two-lap up-and-downhill race that gains 800 feet of elevation per lap. It is an 8.9 km course.
"I've been putting in extra training time running hills and increasing my mileage to about 70 miles a week in order to prepare," Butler said. "The opportunity to put on the Team USA jersey is unbelievable."
Said Jenn Burgess, the secondary principal at SkyView Academy: "We are so proud of Ben Butler and his notable accomplishments in the classroom as well as his remarkable athletic achievements. He embodies SkyView Academy's vision for each one of its students, and is a young man known for the content of his excellent character and his strong leadership."