The old North Lake Park course never ran this fast.
It's a little mind-boggling to note that the top 12 boys times in the Northern League meet all checked in under 16 minutes. I can remember when, except for Liberty Bell, entire seasons went by without that many guys breaking 16 minutes. So, it's not all just the course.
And, for Centaurus it wasn't just a lot of fast times, it was a boys league meet title that has eluded them for so many years. Even when Centaurus took state in 2011, they only managed a third-place finish in the league meet.
This has never been an easy league meet to win. But Centaurus certainly made it look easy this year.
Things started off as well as anyone in Lafayette could have hoped for. John O'Malley took the win in 15:20, beating Brock Dykema and Simon Kelati to the finish line by two and three seconds, respectively. Only a few seconds later, he was backed up by teammates Cooper Brown and Alex Hooten, both recording 15:41s. Kyle Piper was still under 16 minutes at 15:52. And freshman James Overberg wrapped up the scoring at 16:05.
For Overberg, that was a whopping 66-second PR. That young man found himself some adrenaline on Friday.
36 team points in a league that includes teams like Silver Creek, Niwot, Greeley Central, and Thompson Valley.
Silver Creek managed a second at 50 points. The Raptors, though, only managed three below 16 minutes and didn't get their scoring completed until 16:38. Therein lies the difference.
Niwot was never really in the hunt. In fairness to the Cougars, Cruz Culpepper wasn't part of their show on Friday. But, even if Culpepper had been running and had won the individual title, Niwot still would have been helpless to reel in Centaurus.
The Warriors take a breather now, with regionals still nearly two weeks out. Those two weeks would however, be a good time to remind themselves that they're not done dealing with Niwot yet. On the other hand, and as fair warning, Centaurus accomplished all this on Friday without the magical shorts. Centaurus was most definitely in the standard-issue red shorts for the Northern League meet.
Only we aren't done telling the Centaurus story. The Centaurus girls also claimed a league title, this time by 10 points over Silver Creek. Once again, Niwot settled for third. And, you will look in vain to find the name of Taylor James anywhere up and down the Niwot results.
Kenadi Krueger took the individual title--as season results suggested she might--but Riley Geldean made things a lot closer than most expected. The final times read 18:10 for Krueger and 18:11 for Geldean.
Better still for Centaurus, Katie Hooten rolled across in third at 18:22. But, it was the proximity of 3, 4, and 5 to 1 and 2 that sealed the deal. Molly Maksin snared eighth in 19:21. Grace Armstrong and Helen Gover closed out the scoring in 13 and 14.
Silver Creek didn't get their fifth across until 19th, and the difference in fifth-place runners accounts for half of the eventual team difference between Centaurus and Silver Creek. Scoring depth is a marvelous thing in cross country. At least when it's in your corner.