Riley Colby clawed at the track, digging her white spikes into the beige oval as she rounded the bend and into the final lap of the 400.
She punched the air like a prizefighter while eyeing the empty space in front of her. She was full-on in Attack Mode.
For the second time of the day she entered the bell lap with a lead worth of a few strides. And for the second time of the day she had Taylor James tracking her.
There was a sense of déjà vu in that girl's 400 inside the Mountain Lion Field House at the Let's Get REAL Classic Saturday.
Just around 90 minutes earlier the packed house witnessed Colby lead James into the final lap of the 600. And in that race James shifted that powerfully large stride into another gear down the backstretch to take the lead with 100 meters to go.
Now the two once again went head to head, minus 200 meters of track real estate to battle over.
Having been here once before already, Colby knew all she had to do was hold on a little longer. She pumped hard around the top of the track, and leaned into the backstretch, knowing that James was in full-on predator mode.
Colby's lead was vanishing by the inches, however, as James gradually pushed the pedal to the floor.
With 100 to go the sense of déjà vu vanished, sort of, as a new moment was made when Colby maintained her slight lead over James.
Colby clung to the rail, forcing James to add a few more strides worth of effort to get around as the two battled around the final bend.
"James is trying to make a move on the outside! Can Colby hold on to the finish?!" Announcer Mark Roberts echoed out over the mic to the crowd, who were really getting into the race now.
When they emerged with nothing but straightaway in front of them James had made up the gap, and they we were side by side, stride for stride.
Colby pumped harder, but there was no stopping James.
The four-time state champ once again shifted gears and slid by Colby in the final strides to take her third victory of the day (she won the mile and 600 as well, and finished third in the 200).
James and Colby ran the top-two fastest times in the state, with James running 58.12, and Colby just a stride and a half back in 58.47.
In the 600 the race was nearly as close, with James running 1:36.57, and Colby a second back in 1:37.60.
As impressive as James was Saturday, much can be said about Colby as well, who clearly made a big, big leap.
Her runner-up finish in the 400 nearly tied her personal best from outdoors, and her 1:37 600 is on pace for a 2:10+-ish 800. (Her PR is 2:20).
There were plenty of epic battles at the Let's Get REAL Classic Saturday, and a ton of state-leading marks across the board - and there was a US No. 1 1,000 out of Yasin Sado.
Next Page: State-leading marks all over