Cooper Brown lead Centaurus to the team title.
A year ago Centaurus finished second to Palmer Ridge. But not this time. While the simple math was not in their favor leading into Saturday's race, they made sure to run their best when it mattered the most - at State.
And that's the beauty of the sport - math can predict what someone should run, but not what they can run when the chips are down. And Centaurus proved that they wouldn't be bound by numbers, because their will to win was more powerful, and thus proved my pre-state prediction wrong.
(My hat is off to the boys in blue and red, and their many fans.)
Brown and Puckett gave Centaurus the much-needed 1-2 finish within the top 10 to make the state title possible, but it was their pack that sealed the deal. Kyle Piper, Henry Bowman, and James Overberg put together stellar races of their own, finishing 13th, 22nd, and 28th to give the boys in blue and red a decisive state title.
Centaurus tallied 63 points to flip the script on the defending state champs, Palmer Ridge, who took second with 99 points. Early on it looked like Palmer Ridge would have the numbers to match Centaurus, as Hippe and Logan Bocovich were both in the top 11, but Centaurus was able to put all five scoring runners in front of Palmer Ridge's No. 4.
Air Academy was a close third-place finisher, just eight points back with 107 points. Led by Powell, Air Academy kept things close with Cal Banta finishing just outside the top 10, in 17th, but Palmer Ridge's 1-2 punch of Hippe and Bocovich was enough to keep them just ahead of Air Academy.