Orin Carnes swayed back and forth, rubbing the "5" stickers that clung to each hip of his long black tights. He adjusted the purple bandana that wrapped neatly around his head, and pushed the brim of his glasses back to the space between his eyebrows.
The Fowler (then) junior eyed the 10 hurdles that stood between him and the white finish line, stretching 110 meters down the straightaway.
He stood in the middle of the starting line, with four competitors on each side of him. But what concerned him the most was what was in front of him.
In this week's edition of Taco Tuesday - excuse me - Tasty Race Tuesday - we've got an extra delicious 110 meters with a side of 10 hurdles, and for dessert, one of the most iconic finish line leans from the 2019 state track and field championships.
The starter instructed the nine finalist of the boy's 2A 110 hurdle final into their blocks, sending all nine crouched tight. While the race itself would take just over a dozen seconds, the time preparing on the line was an entire process.
Carnes entered the final with the fastest time in the prelims, where he ran 16.18. The time was just ahead of the Hoehne duo of Nicholas Navarette and Trystan Moltrer, who owned the No. 2 and No. 3 fastest times in the state.
Though Carnes' biggest challenger of the day would come from Jace Peebles, who sat crouched in Lane 2. Peebles finished sixth in the prelims, running nearly half a second behind Carnes with a 16.83 clocking, though he clearly saved his best for the final.
The nine finalist sat tight while the crowd went silent, waiting for the starter's gun to send the final off and into history.
When the gun shot out, it was Peebles who won the battle out of the blocks. The Hotchkiss (then) junior cleared the first hurdle with a slight lead, though Carnes made gains as he soared over the first hurdle and onwards towards the next.
By the second hurdle the two were seemingly locked onwards through the fourth hurdle, and then Carnes began to inch away.
And one inch became two, two three, and then a foot.
Carnes took massive strides and cleared each hurdle before quickly planting his left foot back down to earth to stride into the next hurdle.
Each giant stride lengthened his lead as his pace seemingly increased into the final half of the 110 hurdles. By the eighth hurdle his feet nearly went out underneath him, as his legs were ahead of him. Ready to cross that finish line.
Carnes immediately corrected the slight over-step, and fell right back into his stride.
Two hurdles to go.
He pumped his arms as he drove his knees up, and up - over the ninth hurdle - while Peebles chased from three lanes to his left.
One hurdle to go.
Carnes flew cleanly over the final hurdle and went to his arms, boxing his way through the final strides while Peebles did the same from a few meters back.
The Fowler junior's eyes widened through the brims of his glasses as the finish line that stretched across the red track neared.
In a quick motion he threw his arms back in one final thrust at the line.
Carnes had his first state title, running a (wind-aided) personal best of 15.79, while Peebles dipped under 16 as well, running 15.97.
Filled with the energy of claiming the title, Carnes fist-bumped Rocky Ford freshman Jadon Huerta before trotting off the track.
A year ago Carnes missed the final, finishing 13th in the prelims, now he was the state champion.