The Valor Christian freshman and the Pomona junior ran stride for stride, tethered tightly together as they ran into the second mile of the Pat Patten Invitational in Boulder, Colo. Saturday morning.
As they powered down the hill with neither gaining an inch, you could feel the tension rise from the side of the course like a Colorado fall morning.
Toss the jacket, it's getting hot out here.
This race needed some relief.
And it would get it.
The tether between Edwards and Stutzman remained tight through the middle mile, but it was loosening with each stride, and Edwards could feel it.
So the freshman pounced.
"Approaching the two-mile I was like 'ok, this is it. I gotta make my move," Edwards explained.
The move was decisive, as Edwards quickly opened up a gap. Into the final mile she went, but Stutzman was reluctant to give any lead away without effort. The Pomona junior tracked Edwards as they looped around the finish and up the final hill before storming down towards the ticking clock, but the gap would prove too much to overcome.
Edwards went on to pick up the second consecutive victory of of her freshmen season, running 18:13. Stutzman finished second 10-seconds back in 18:23.
Behind the battle of Edwards and Stutzman came another big reveal in the form of Niwot freshman Bella Nelson, whose late kick nearly changed the narrative just a bit.
While Niwot sat out their entire top-four and much of the varsity, Nelson shined with a massive personal best, running 18:26 to finish third. The time was a 52-second PR.
Gamily's finish over Rorick would mirror what we'd see in the team race, as US No. 13 Valor Christian battled to the fifth runner against Mountain Vista.
Valor and Mountain Vista both had two runners inside the top-eight, with Mountain Vista's Brooke Adams finishing eighth, and then it was runner-for-runner.
Mountain Vista's Peyton Adams was the first third-runner to cross in 11th, and she was followed by Valor's No. 3, Jordan Blankenship, who finished 14th. Blankenship was followed immediately by Mountain Vista's Shayda Zarrin, who finished 15th.
Vista Nation capped their tally with Cayley Swaim, who finished 20th to put five in front of Valor's four, who finished 21st and 22.
When the final tally was counted only five points separated them, and it was Mountain Vista on top with 59 points to Valor's 64.