Ares Reading (center) and Cruz Culpepper kicked late to finish 1-2 Saturday.
Cruz Culpepper found himself in an unfamiliar spot Saturday: Chasing.
Nearly 20 meters ahead, Thompson Valley's Dylan Schubert was doing something no one (excluding Cole Sprout) had attempted to do so far this season: run away from Culpepper.
After a steady 5:05 opening mile that saw just under a dozen still in the race, Schubert had had enough. The Thompson Valley junior knew there was no out-kicking Culpepper, so he threw down the hammer with hopes of putting his stamp on this race.
The attack sent ripple waves through the lead pack, as it stretched in attempts to keep Schubert close, but his Tour de France-style surge lifted him away from his chases, at least temporarily.
While Schubert was battling up front on into the final mile, he had pre-race favorite Culpepper in hot pursuit. The Niwot junior was undefeated in Colorado this season, and his only loss - a runner-up finish - came to 5A's Sprout at Desert Twilight in Arizona last month.
Culpepper had made a habit out of kicking late, and kicking last, which was a strategy that had worked nearly every time before, but Schubert's long surge to the finish was a new strategy he'd have to counter. He'd have to make a decision: let Schubert go for now, and hopefully kick him down later, or give chase and potentially sacrifice the sting in his kick that was unbeatable, so far.
The latter option seemed less reckless than the former, so Culpepper went to work.