Jacob Crookston cruised over the thick grass in rhythmic motion.
Smooth and efficient, like a ticking clock.
Fans lined the course besides the paved path in twos and threes, cheering the Jefferson Academy junior on while he soloed off and away from the competition and into the second lap. Somewhere in the distance someone screamed, prompting Crookston to crack a smile.
He was clearly enjoying his run in the park.
Crookston made no competition of the 3A Region 3 race. It was quite simply domination. The Jefferson Academy junior blitzed the field with a 17:05 clocking - a 34 second victory.
Behind him there was a battle brewing, however.
Teammate Evan Mills led the chase pack through the middle stages of the race, which included Holy Family's Jack Culp and Peak to Peak's Ryan Kuykendall, though it would be the final mile that really turned the tables on the individual race behind Crookston.
Prospect Ridge's Gabriel Rueda used a late surge to nab the runner-up spot, running 17:39, while Culp held on to finish third in 17:42. Antonio Marquez surged late as well, finishing fourth in 17:48, while Kuykendall and Mills went on to finish fifth and sixth.
Crookston's dominating individual victory stirred a Jefferson Academy team title with 38 points, while Holy Family took the runner-up spot just 10 points back with 48. The battle for the two remaining state-qualifying spots went into the single digits, with Peak to Peak taking third with 115, and Stargate claiming the final spot with 122 points - just one agonizing point ahead of Faith Christian's 123.
Next Page: King leads Faith Christian to a sweep