Kidus Begashaw took big strides across the creek crossing.
Splashes of water came splashing upwards against gravity as he willed himself to do the same.
While he had already run away from his competition, he still had two steep hills and an empty Norris-Penrose Stadium to run through before being named State Champion.
"Let's go! Let's go! Up! Up! Up!" cheers from the sideline urged him on.
The Lotus School For Excellence senior stalled for a moment, feeling the weight of the effort, but then he rallied and brought himself back to the task at hand: winning a state title.
"I came here to win," he said after the race. "I didn't want anything else but that, not second, or third, I came here to win."
On the back of that passion, Begeshaw powered up the final two hills, onwards towards history.
Despite running his first Colorado State Cross Country Championships, Begeshaw got to experience the most coveted of moments for high school cross country runners - entering Penrose without a challenger in sight.
"This is great," he said after the race. "I only trained for six months... Formally I played basketball, and a little bit of soccer. I just came into running, but I told myself I was going to be a State Champion. I worked hard for this."
After a hot early pace, he went on to dismantle the competition over the second mile and run solo the rest of the way.
He entered Penrose alone, the reward of his early efforts, and ran on to the 2A state title in dominating fashion.
Begeshaw crossed the finish line in 16:17 - a 30-second victory.
While the Lotus School For Excellence senior had run himself free of any challengers, the race for the runner-up spot was still up for grabs.
Zeller chased Begeshaw through the second mile, which created a gap that Williams kicked hard to close, but he'd run out of real estate here.
The Custer County senior held on for the runner-up finish, running 16:47.
The time was just three seconds of ahead of Crested Butte's Williams, who ran 16:50.
And then a forty-second gap followed these three.
While the individual race appeared to be decided early, the team race went down to the wire.
Heritage Christian, Lyons, and Peyton took this one down to single digits.
And then Heritage Christian got on the board.
Through three runners Peyton led with 29 points. St. Mary's had 31, while Heritage Christian and Lyons both had 33.
But the fourth runner would decide this race.
Herman was also in front of St. Mary's and Peyton's No. 3.
Heritage Christian's depth through four runners proved to be the key here, or maybe it was the high-tech "jean"-racing shorts, as they claimed the 2A state title with 54 points.
Lyons was just five points back with 59 points, while Peyton tallied 64, and St. Mary's tallied 87.
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