3A Region 2 Boys: To The Wire

After a brief bit of company to start the race, Mason Norman ran alone to his third regional title in three years.

The battle between The Classical Academy and Salida is going to have to be continued next week at state. There was enough separation between the two to declare a winner for the regional meet, but not nearly enough separation to declare one team or the other a favorite next week at the Norris Penrose Event Center.

In what will surely go down as one of the tightest races in this year's regional round, TCA edged Salida, 41-44 for the regional crown. But the Spartans aren't done yet, nor was there much in the way of relief to be found in the TCA camp.

Salida runs a pack. A very good pack.

On Thursday, Finley Petit led the pack at 17:15. Kuper Banghart was the fifth Spartan across in 17:37. And reinforcements weren't far behind.

TCA sets up a big lead with Mason Norman, then closes in with a pack of their own--almost, but not quite, as tight as the Spartan pace. Norman finished his race in 15:42. He was well out of sight of everybody. Chandler Wilburn was next at 17:15, just a hair behind Salida's Petit. Ryan Flaherty, Nathaniel Brim, and Adam Ambuul followed, with Ambuul finishing the scoring in 17:43. That was 15th place overall.

It was just enough to get the Titans by the Spartans. This time. Single digits of seconds separate these two teams at any of several places.

Alamosa, who was led by the tandem of Joshes Lopez and Medina in 2-3 with nearly identical times of 16:57 and 16:58 finished third. The Mean Moose wasn't able to match the pack finishes of TCA and Salida, but easily advanced to state just the same.

It almost wouldn't be state without Alamosa.

Slipping into the fourth team qualifier was a newcomer to the state crowd--Lutheran. The Lions moved ahead of Woodland Park and Manitou Springs to earn their slot.

Earning individual qualifiers to state were Branden Davis of Lamar and Henry Ilyasova of Manitou. The season ends for everyone else.