Lily Williams crouched tight in lane 5, while two braids of equal tension sat on the top of her back. She wore a royal blue Nike headband that wrapped over the tops of her ears, matching the hue of "Wolves" stretched in bold lettering across her black singlet.
While the defending 400 state champ waited for the gun to send the nine quarter-milers off and into history, she had a competitor of equal ambitions in lane 4.
When the gun shot out, sending ripples of smoke into the air Camille Peisner exploded out of the blocks, eating up ground with haste.
She was attack-mode from the first stride.
Within 80 meters of the 400 final at the 2019 Colorado State Track & Field Championships Peisner had already made up the stagger on the Grandview junior.
This would be no stroll.
Peisner pumped hard down the backstretch, but Williams responded, keeping pace from a few meters back.
The duo were running off and away from the rest of the field, and by the time Peisner reached the 200 meter marker, the clock had just ticked passed 25 seconds.
Peisner and Williams remained locked at top speed as they rounded the bend, and for a moment it almost looked like Williams would run out of real estate. Peisner continued to punch at the air as she ran off the curve still with a credible lead.
But then Williams went into predator mode.
The Grandview junior clawed at the track and pumped her arms into the final straightway just as the effort began to hit Peisner.
Williams' bright orange spikes turned lit on fire as she tore into the final 50 meters, catching Peisner as the two blazed by the white lettering "Jefferson County Stadium" on the side of the track.
By the time Williams reached the "M" at the end of the lettering she was free of Peisner, and strides away from defending her state title.
While she had forfeited the lead, Peisner's never relinquished her effort.
Williams roared late to the 400 state title, having only led the final 50 meters of the race. She crossed the finish line in 53.63, which was the sixth fastest time in Colorado history.
Peisner battled into the final strides to capture a runner-up finish, running 54.31.