With a mile to go it was anyone's race.
All of the pre-race favorites were in the mix.
There was the Valor Christian duo of Ty Garrett and Drew Costelow. There was the Mountain Vista duo of Jayden Nats and Tyler Downs. There was Fairview's Eric Sankey, Rocky Mountain's Dalton Kaines, and Heritage's Connor Kennedy.
And then hovering off to the right side of this massive pack was Tanner Brown.
The Chaparral sophomore entered the 2021 Colorado State Cross County Championships with a modest 15:53 personal best from his victory at the Colorado 5A Region 5 Cross Country Championships just last week - at the time, that was his second victory of the season, with his first coming at the Dave Sanders Invitational.
While Brown's PR was over half-a-minute behind those of the runners he was keeping stride with, he raced on unfazed of the company he was keeping.
It was the 2021 5A Colorado State Championships after all.
The perfect time to throw all caution to the wind, and just run.
And that Brown did.
The Chaparral sophomore shifted gears as the massive lead pack ran onwards into the final mile, the Norris-Penrose Center awaited their arrival.
Brown attacked the field, leaving them mostly stunned.
"Two-and-a-half-miles in Ty Garret and I started moving," Brown explained. "From there, I just did my normal kick that I always plan on, and have for the end."
Brown took the hard-right into Penrose and the crowd roared to life. Some in excitement, some in sheer shock. While his previous wins and PR were respectable, the combined resumes of the field of which he just dismantled were staggering.
This would be the upset of the day.
In this moment, Brown was the embodiment of Doing.
Unfazed, Brown kicked into Penrose and erased all doubt. This would be his day. His announcement to the Colorado running community - Tanner Brown is the real deal.
And Tanner Brown is the 2021 5A State Champion.
26th last year - first this year. If that doesn't scream "Dream Big," I don't know what does...
"I'm kind of in disbelief," Brown said after the race. "I don't really know what just happened."
Just over 16 minutes earlier Brown toed the starting line with a goal of sneaking into the top-5. Now he was the state champion.
The Chaparral sophomore stunned the field by storming away with the 5A state title in 15:44 - a new PR.
Garret took second just four-seconds back in 15:48, while Sankey was third in 15:57, which was just aahead of Costelow's 15:48.
And with two Valor runners in, all eyes shifted to the team race, which was slated to be a battle between US No. 6 Valor Christian, and Mountain Vista.
And the battle lived up to the hype.
Mountain Vista countered with Nats and Downs finishing fifth and eighth, then gained an edge with freshman Benjamin Anderson finishing 11th, and Nate Harbert finishing 15th. Valor battled back with freshman Kaeden Dendorfer, and Tyler Pranno finishing 16-17, but Mountain Vista closed the door with Luke Urban finishing 20th.
While Valor had the best 1-2 punch, Mountain Vista's pack would be the decider here, and when the finial tally was read, only two points separated these two squads.
Mountain Vista had the team-upset of the day, as they defended their team title, tallying 59 points to Valor's 61. Cherokee Trail took third with 147 points.
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